Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School: Ranger Cookies My Way

It isn’t even September yet and my two little darlings are already back in school. This really makes me sad, but since we go through this every fall I do my best to heal my broken heart with a series of girly luncheons and bottles of wine. It eventually works but it takes me awhile to get back in the swing of things.

Before I can even start to wrap my head around our new routine, the school e-mails begin. For those of you who have children in school, you know the kind of e-mails I’m talking about; the begging for volunteers e-mails, the e-mails about the $50 you owe for your son’s parking permit and then there’s the dreaded Back to School Night e-mail.

Our school’s Back to School Night consists of parents following the same daily school schedule as our children. We spend ten minutes with each teacher so they can tell us their philosophy and expectations of our little darlings and we are to then move on to the next class without cornering their teacher about the best way to get our child into Harvard.

Inevitably there is some rude parent who feels like this is the only chance they will ever have to let everyone know how intelligent their child is, and somehow they manage to bombard the entire ten minute time period. This really annoys everyone so I decided to do something about it this year and told my husband that he really needs to stop.

By the time your child gets to high school interesting changes begin to happen with their teachers. With a few exceptions, long gone are the perky young elementary school teachers who look like Talbot's models with a sparkle in their eyes and an optimistic tale of how much will be accomplished over the next nine months.

While high school teachers are a hearty breed, many of them often have an unkempt look, with a worried smile and a slight tremor in their hands. A school teacher friend of mine once told me that this is caused by years of wondering if anyone in his class peed in his coffee while he was out of the room. I understand that.

Last year my son’s favorite teacher was my favorite too. The gruff looking Mr. L taught Aquatic Biology and was very upfront with us at Back to School Night with the fact that if our student needed a little extra credit all we had to do was send in snacks. He didn’t want wordy research papers, dioramas or cold hard cash, he just wanted cookies. Oh man, he is my kind of guy.

Over the course of the semester last year, my son was in need of a couple of rounds of extra credit. I didn’t fool around with your run of the mill chocolate chip cookies, I hit Mr. L with the big guns right off the bat, my version of Ranger Cookies or as some also call them, Cowboy Cookies because of their lack of corn flakes.

Even though I don’t like baking cookies much, these are worth the trouble. They are big, chewy, a little bit thin and contain a little bit of something for everyone. Besides, you never know when you might need a little extra credit with someone yourself. I know it worked for me; "we" got a B in Aquatic Biology.

Ranger Cookies My Way

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (you can substitute the nuts for 1 heaping cup of cornflakes or rice crispies if you are allergic to nuts or just don't like them)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, vanilla and eggs and mix well; set aside.

In a medium size bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in the bowl, mixing well after each addition until it is completely incorporated.

Drop dough by the heaping tablespoons onto a non-stick cookie sheet; bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until cookies are a golden brown around the edges. Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow cookies to cool for just a couple of minutes before carefully transferring them to a cool surface to cool completely.

Makes approximately 30 large cookies.


Cooking with Michele said...

My husband and I finally wised up and when our kids were in high school, we'd tell them we were going to back to school night and go to a fabulous dinner out at a nice restaurant instead! You can always meet with their teachers later if needed, but it's so hard to get a night off as young parents - take a little advantage if you need to!

Lea Ann said...

Great post! These cookies look amazing. I'll keep the recipe close by if I need extra credit with my boss ... like for sneaking in a weekday trip to Brighton. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, you are hired to deliver a batch to my son's High School. I know, that you know the location, so no excuses allowed!! Detailed info later regarding the teachers.
I feel better now, we didn't go to my son's back to school night this year. And I already decided not to go to my daughter's either. Dinner with my husband sounds like a great idea instead.
I will take the recipe to try. Thanks.

Craig said...

They look fab and I will try them soon. I don't have kids and so don't need to bribe a teacher. What a shame... all for me!

DaniD said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE it and wonder WHY none of my college professors would use treats for extra credit (I would have gotten much better grades!!! and I could have used them too haha).

Vickie said...

Those look fabulous - I wish I'd known this trick back when my daughter was going through her challenging phase. :)
I had to laugh about your back to school blues . . . I used to pull back into the garage on the first day of school and weep at the empty house. It took me about 2 or 3 hours to get completely over it. Several of the moms gathered for a back to school coffee and that kicked off the school year properly.

Boulder Locavore said...

I've always maintained starting the school year is like moving to a different planet. This year we returned from vacation (from a different country) the afternoon before the first day making it all the more surreal. I think I'll keep the recipe for when my kids need 'extra credit' with me. Their punishment will be making me a batch of these! They look great. Hope you had a great summer with your kids. It goes by so fast....

Angela FRS said...

Well just between us, I can totally be bought with snacks. Kidding! To all of those administrators who must be reading these comments...

Really, I hate that school starts so early. I liked the whole after-Labor day idea a lot.

Jenny said...

Karen, these cookies sound absolutely incredible (and I love the back story!). Are they adjusted for altitude? I need to satisfy a coconut craving... :)

Karen Harris said...

Hey Jenny! I made these cookies as is at 6,000 ft. They came out as you see 'em, chewy and just a bit thin. We love them.

Yenta Mary said...

Everyone has a price. Good to know that this teacher merely extorted cookies ... a man after my own heart, as I would devour an entire batch of these right now if I had any nearby!

All Things Yummy said...

Those look delicious.

Isabelle Lambert said...

merci beaucoup Karen pour cette recette absolument fabuleuse :)
mon anglais n'est pas très bon, mais avec un traducteur, je pense que tu vas comprendre ce que j'écris. Je lis l'anglais (surtout les recettes) mais je ne suis pas assez à l'aise pour écrire.
j'ai découvert ton blogue grâce à Knapkins et je t'ai ajoutée dans mes fils rss...j'adore :)