Soldier Cookies

Soldier Cookies

Toasted oatmeal, coconut, pecan and toffee cookies.

Cowboy Cookies and Ranger Cookies have been around for years. While cowboys and rangers are noble indeed, I’m a little biased and believe there also needs to be a cookie for our Soldiers.

I researched the history of the Cowboy and Ranger Cookie, and came up with nada. In fact, there is an online debate over just who the Ranger Cookie is named after.

While stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., I had a neighbor who sent a box of Ranger Cookies to her husband who deployed at the beginning of the Iraq War. Appropriately though, she said the cookies were named after Army Rangers not Texas Rangers.

Whoever they’re for, Cowboy and Ranger Cookies are similar in that they are basically coconut oatmeal cookies with extras thrown in. Cowboy Cookies have pecans and chocolate chips added, and Ranger Cookies usually include chocolate chips and cereal.

So for the Soldier Cookies, I started with a coconut oatmeal cookie and turned to tradition for the mix-ins.

One of the most magnificent traditions we have is the military ball. Soldiers put on their crisp dress blues, shiny shoes and racks of medals; while the women adorn long, satin dresses suitable for Cinderella.

Along with the presentation of the Colors, a round of toasts to the commander in chief, the Army and the ladies, Soldiers come forward to make the Grog.

I was appalled at my first ball as I saw Soldiers dumping motor oil, dirty socks, sand and tank parts into a big bowl to prepare this alcoholic punch. But as the ingredients worsened, the line for a cup lengthened, and I had to try it.

Fortunately, the ingredients they described were all edible: Gatorade symbolized antifreeze; sugar was used as sand; grenadine represented bloodshed, and so on.

These cookies are my tribute to the grog. Although they don’t contain any alcohol, they symbolize the honor, duty and traditions of the Army.

Tank Grease (butter)They start with some Abrams Tank grease,

Sand from Normandy (sugar)some sand from the beaches of Normandy,

Dirt from Afghanistan (Brown Sugar)and dirt from the streets of Afghanistan.

The extra special Army mix-ins that have been baked under the hot desert sun include:

Lumpy Matress Filling (Toasted Oats)the filling of a lumpy mattress,

Rocks (Toasted Pecans)rocks poured from my husbands boots,

Shredded Paper (Toasted Coconut)shredded paper (can’t be too secure with America’s Top Secret documents) and

Glass (Toffee Bits)broken glass from a recent raid.

They include eggs, flour and spices, too, because these are cookies after all.

Hopefully, I haven’t turned you off because these cookies are really good. The oats, coconut and pecans were toasted before they were added to the mix, so their essential oils were released and distributed nicely into the batter.

I also made the toffee from scratch, so it was much fresher than the store bought bag o’ bits. I couldn’t stop eating this batter raw (although I don’t recommend following in my footsteps because it does have raw eggs).

Cookie FailureI baked my first cookie right away, but it spread too quickly, so I chilled the dough for 2 hours, so the butter could solidify. That still didn’t work. The cookies tasted great, but they were more like brittle disks, not the chewy oatmeal cookies my husband loves.

Soldier Cookies from ZestuousSo back to the drawing board. I changed the butter to shortening and added baking powder. Voilà!

Soldier Cookies from ZestuousTime to box these up and ship them out to my hubby.

If you want to send homemade cookies to a service member, you need to address the package to a specific person. The military no longer accepts packages sent to “Any Soldier.” If you don’t know anyone stationed overseas, you can visit for a list of names, or you can email me at, and I can provide you with names and addresses for some of my friends serving in Afghanistan. Or you can donate cookies to wounded warriors at a nearby military hospital or VA.

Soldier Cookies

Yield: 50 cookies

Soldier Cookies


  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup (1 stick) butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

Spread the oats, coconut and pecans onto a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the shortening and sugars. Mix for about 3 minutes, so the sugar can break down.

Add eggs and vanilla and mix for about 30 seconds.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix until just combined.

Gently stir in the oats, coconut, pecans and toffee bits.

Using a small scoop, scoop the cookies onto a silpat-lined baking sheet.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes. (Do not overbake or they will become crispy)

Soldier Cookies from Zestuous


  • Lisa says:

    My grandmother made Ranger Cookies for my Dad in the ’40s-60’s. I was wondering about their origin. I notice that the base of the cookie is very similar to the famous Australian Anzac Biscuit, an oatmeal/coconut cookie which was made without eggs so that they wouldn’t spoil when sent to troops.

  • Joyce says:

    Hi! I am compiling a cookbook for my girl scout troop and was wondering if it would be okay for us to use your recipe in the book if we put a link to your site with the recipe. Thanks for your consideration in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

  • Melanotan 2 says:

    I am seriously fascinated along with your crafting ability as well as with all the framework on your blog site. Is this fact some sort of compensated subject as well as do you alter the item by yourself? Anyhow sustain the nice excellent crafting, it is rare to see a great web site like this one nowadays.

  • Lizzers says:

    Thank you ssooo much for this recipe!!! =))) i right now they are baking and i am sending a batch to my Marine brother and his platoon !! He will LOVE them i’m sure!! Thank God for the armed services!!=))

    • zestuous says:

      You’re so welcome. I know the guys are gonna love them. Thank you for taking such good care of our troops. It means so much when they get a little love from home.

  • Karyn says:

    Nevermind just saw the recipe for the toffee *duh* lol

  • Karyn says:

    Came across them when researching Ranger Cookies for a couple of soldiers that I have adopted. I can’t wait to try them – question where did you find the toffee? I can’t seemed to find it without it being chocolate covered. Also if anyone wants to adopt a soldier they can also check out along with Thanks for the recipe!

  • Krystie says:

    I made these and my hubby’s unit loved them, I took them in to the office one day and they didn’t last 20 minutes, I should stop spoiling the guys at least thats what the LT. Says b/c noone is gonna pass tape if I keep feeding them like I do…lol

  • Oh grog….. I think ours one year had lucky charms, fruit loops, gatorade, gummy bears, chocolate milk, and booze apleanty in it — what a hot mess! I need to try it next time we’re at a ball or dining out!c 😉

    love that you’re a fellow military wife! There are so few foodie bloggers that are! <3

  • Jules says:

    These taste great! Mailing them to a friend in Afghanistan.

  • USAF says:

    Air Force likes them too! I just had some of your amazing cookies! Thank you!


  • Simply Tia says:

    Do you think a Marine would like them? I might have to rename them cuz I just cannot understand the big deal when I refer to my hubby as a soldier. He says “Tia, I’m a Marine, not a soldier” Go figure.

    These babies look absolutely delicious! I’ll have to try them but I’m gonna have to either not name them or rename them. Hahaha.

    Happy New Year!

    • zestuous says:

      You can call them Marine cookies for him. He’s right. Marine’s are Marines, Soldiers are Soldiers, Airmen are Airmen and Sailors are Sailors. None of them want to be called anything else, but we tend to generically call them all Soldiers. Maybe he’d be okay with Troop Cookies. That’s a somewhat generic term.

      Enjoy and thanks for taking care of your Marine. I’m sure he’ll love them. Happy New Year.

  • I love this post. Well written and an awesome cookie recipe. I am back on the monthly donating of cookies to Wounded Warriors at Ft Hood, so they will definitely be getting some of these! Thank you.

  • Pops says:

    You could also mail a small batch to a retired soldier, named POPS:-) These look and sound sooooooooo good.

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