Old Schoolhouse Ranger Cookies


Raise your hand if you grew up in the L.A.U.S.D. school system! If you are a baby boomer like myself, I can almost predict that, while in elementary school, you bought hot lunch and this cookie was part of that meal.

There was truly nothing better than pushing that segmented plastic plate/tray down the lunch line as the little ladies, with hair nets on their heads and smiles on their faces, loaded you up with real, homemade, hot food. A far cry from what my kids were served at their elementary school.

My favorite meal or the meal that I remember most vividly was the spaghetti. But it wasn’t ordinary spaghetti. It was a noodle very similar to that of the noodle that one finds in the Kraft Mac N Cheese boxes (same shape), in some type of red sauce with a very large piece of French bread on the side, a pad of real butter, fruit that I probably didn’t eat and a very large oatmeal type cookie. I would slather butter on that warm piece of bread and pile the noodles on top and eat it like an openfaced sandwich. It was heaven. But it was the cookie that I savored for the end. I have dreamt about those cookies…

Then one day, back in the 80’s when I actually read the newspaper (The Calendar and Food section only), I saw the S.O.S. section with the recipe for this very cookie. I made them and they were exactly as I remembered them. Then I filed my typed recipe card away in it’s Lucite box and forgot about it. Until two years ago when I stumbled upon it. At that time I was developing not only the marketing and branding strategy for a local restaurant, but I was also conceptualizing their dessert menu. I made these cookies a few different ways and they became their best sellers.

Please, Please, Please comment if you share this same memory. And if you do, what was your favorite hot lunch growing up? I love hearing your stories.


Old Schoolhouse Ranger Cookies


228 grams | 8 oz. | 1 cup unsalted, grassfed butter, room temp.
2 large, whole eggs
200 grams | 7 oz. | 1 cup brown sugar
200 grams | 7 oz. | 1 cup granulated sugar
280 grams | 10 oz. | 2 cups unbleached, AP flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups corn flake cereal
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cups chopped walnuts, toasted



• preheat the oven to 350°F.
• line 2 baking rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. set aside.
• in the workbowl of your mixer, cream sugars and butter (using paddle attachment) until light and fluffy. about 5 minutes.
• add eggs, one at a time.
• add vanilla.
• sift flour, kosher salt, baking powder and baking soda over work bowl and batter. mix just to combine. don’t over mix. 
• add rolled oats, cereal, coconut, nuts and mix to incorporate.
• using a 1/4 ice cream scoop, drop batter onto prepared parchment lined sheets.
• bake 12 -17 minutes or until the tops and edges are light brown.
• let cool on baking sheets before transfering to a wire rack.

*I have swapped out the nuts and coconut for all kinds of stuff; chocolate chips, m&m’s, kit kats, pretzels, etc. Get creative and have fun!

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