Nat’l Homemade Cookie Day

October 1st celebrates HOMEMADE cookies.

Hailing from Texas, I naturally looked for what is considered the true TEXAS cookie.

  • Cranberry Pecan Cookie
  • Ranger Cookie
  • Texas Sheet Cake Cookie
  • Texas Cowboy Cookies

Cranberry Pecan Cookie

The Cranberry Pecan Cookie was selected as the Reader’s Digest favorite best TEXAS cookie. While this cookie contains pecans, which are certainly a Texas staple, the cranberries seemed an odd Texas choice. As cranberries are grown in Northern states: Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington – just to name a few – these cookies don’t seem to easily trace their roots to Texas. They sure sound mighty tasty, though. Recipe link below:

Recipe – Supplied by Louise Hawkins, Lubbock, TX.

Ranger Cookie

Then I found yummy goodness in the form of the Ranger cookie. Sounds like it should be from Texas, right? Ranger . . . as in TEXAS Ranger? But somehow I couldn’t picture those tough, hard-riding, boot-wearing men, who spent more time on an open range than inside four walls as specialists in the cookie baking department. According to Mike Cox of TexasEscapes.com, there was heavy speculation that the cookie was developed with the Rangers in mind. Something to ‘stick to their bones’ as they covered 100s of miles of unforgiving terrain.

However, the more likely answer is one that was linked to The Lone Ranger, whose adventures were sponsored by cereal companies – including one that sported corn flakes as a mainstay.

Most of the Ranger cookie recipes that I found, did indeed contain some type of oat or corn flakes as part of the mixture.

Whichever Ranger was responsible for the inception of Ranger cookies – I thank you. These have always been some of my favorites to enjoy. The following recipe uses both oats & corn flakes. What’s not to love?

Recipe – Supplied by Real Housemoms

Texas Sheet Cookie

I looked through dozens of Texas Sheet Cookie recipes. I didn’t find ONE that actually reminded me of the ‘real’ Texas Sheet Cake of my childhood. Oh, theirs (we’ll call them the outsiders’ recipes) are packed with chocolate, sugar, & butter, and are even drenched in icing, but that’s where the resemblance ended. My recipe, a family favorite, traces its heritage back through a couple of generations of Texas origins.

There is some speculation that the original Texas Sheet Cake recipe was a spin-off from German Sweet Chocolate Cake, as published in a 1957 Dallas newspaper article. According to this story, the German Chocolate Cake and the Texas Sheet Cake are almost identical. I’m going to agree to disagree with the author of the History of Texas Sheet Cake. I’ve had way too many servings of Texas Sheet Cake to count, and not once did it taste like a German Chocolate Cake. I’ll simply say that I can trace one grandmother’s roots to her wagon-ride into Texas during the 1890s and the other to an equal timeframe of birth on a Texas farm. My recipe is a direct descendant from that Texas heritage.

Like any good Texans, we have a few tall tales in our house. The Texas Sheet Cake was – laughingly – referred to as the funeral cake. Because of the cake’s richness – layered with butter and chocolate and sugar – keeping a full pan in the house was a really bad idea. So traditionally, we baked the cake and then carried it in for a ‘visitation’, a ‘wake’, or the ‘supper after a funeral’.

I will admit to baking this cake and sharing at the holidays.

As none of the Texas Sheet Cookie recipes seemed accurate, I’m fudging on this one and including the Texas Sheet Cake recipe as recounted by The Pioneer Woman, who hails from Oklahoma, but understands deep South cooking. (And this recipe most closely mimics my own.)

If you’re after Texas Sheet cookies, bake this cake and cut into tiny squares. You can cheat and call them cookies, and you will NOT be disappointed.

Recipe – Supplied by The Pioneer Woman

Texas Cowboy Cookies

This cookie is my highlight as it is a long-time favorite of Laura Bush’s – said to be served in the Texas Governor’s Mansion. These cookies are a bit like the Ranger cookie — only they are MORE! Chocolate Chips; Peanut Butter Chips; Raisins, Shredded Coconut; Pecans . . . okay, are you hungry yet?

The Texas Cowboy cookie is massive. Of course, it is. This is Texas and we believe BIG is a way of life. These cookies are crisp on the edges and chewy on the inside. Again, what’s not to love?

This recipe as been featured in Southern Living and The Washington Post. It’s even featured on the George W. Bush Presidential Center site.

All fanfare aside, these cookies represent certain traditional aspects that we hold true in Texas:

  • Sweetness – from whatever source you choose, because without sweetness and kindness the world is a much hard place to survive.
  • Oats or Corn Flakes (or both) – because farming (grains) has been a long tradition of Texans.
  • Pecans – well, it is our state tree, after all.
  • BIGGER – because anything worth doing is worth doing right – and living large.

Recipe – Supplied by Back To My Southern Roots

Whatever cookie you decide to enjoy today – calories only count half. It is National Homemade Cookie Day, after all.

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