WALLOWA COUNTY — Do you have an anniversary coming up? There’s a cookie for that. Have a birthday around the corner? There’s a cookie for that. Wedding? Yep, there’s a cookie for that, too.
No matter the occasion, Rancho Road Bakery, a new mother-daughter bakery in Wallowa County, can probably provide you the cookies to commemorate the occasion.
Debi Warnock — the mother — and daughter Deidre Schreiber, started the business, named after the road they live on, about three months ago. It all started when Schreiber, who attends Eastern Oregon University, was home for Thanksgiving break and, with a lot of time on her hands, baked about 300 gingerbread men that were scattered on the counter throughout her mother’s kitchen, Warnock said.
“After she went back to college, I thought, ‘Hey, do you think … ?’” said Warnock.
And the cookie-baking business was born.
“Who would have thought this community needed so many cookies, but they do,” she said.
Warnock works full time as the OSU 4-H and Family, Community Health agent, and Schreiber is a full-time student. The bakery is not a full-time endeavor for the women.
“We do it because we like to make people happy with cookies,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber has worked at a bakery and Warnock has taught, by her estimation, “hundreds of kids in this county how to bake.”
They recently moved to a house with a larger kitchen.
“Truly, our kitchen begs to be baked in,” she said.
Schreiber said she “likes to experiment and learn different techniques and getting to enjoy the end product. It’s a stress reliever.”
Schreiber was in 4-H for 12 years and participated in the 4-H cooking club.
“Who’s not happy eating a cookie?” asked Warnock. For her, she says, it is a relaxing, creative outlet.
Among the cookies are sugar cookies decorated with royal icing, a type of icing that is used in decorating baked goods and is harder than regular buttercream or powdered sugar frostings. The duo said they spent quite a while perfecting the recipe.
They say they have made cookies for weddings, bridal showers and baby showers, birthdays, barbecues, Easter, Bible study groups, graduations and branding parties. Schreiber explained that the cost of the cookie partially depends on the size, number of colors used, whether there is an air brush technique used or she uses a projector. She cited the FFA cookies she made for the state FFA officers as an example. The FFA emblem is intricate and there are several colors involved in each cookie.
They have made Valentine heart-shaped cookies, shamrocks and beer mugs decorated with green, foamy, white icing for St. Patrick’s Day, tulips and eggs for spring and the list seems to go on.
Their most popular cookie thus far? Ear tag-shaped cookies that have been ordered for several branding events. There have even been Weeds of the West cookies for someone who is a pesticide applicator.
A popular cookie has been “the Dipper,” a small cookie that is dipped in buttercream icing. Rancho Road Bakery also makes what they call their “Rustic Ranch” cookie that Warnock describes as, “a huge, almost half-pound chocolate chip, dark chocolate and peanut butter, cookie.” For spring and summer, they will be trying strawberry and lemonade cookie varieties.
Although there is not that much sugar in the cookies, Warnock said they easily go through 50 pounds of flour in a month and a lot of powdered sugar.
Quality control has been in-house with Warnock’s husband, Charlie, and her son, Devin and Schreiber’s boyfriend, Matt, all making sure nothing goes out that isn’t top of the line.
They like to have a week’s notice for orders especially if the cookies involve different techniques or multiple colors; costs vary. If they can, they will try to accommodate people’s requests for cookies, with shorter lead times.
“If we can, we’ll fit them in,” said Schreiber.
Orders can be made by texting, through Instagram, calling or messaging, and can be delivered within the area or picked up at agreed-upon locations.
Although there are no plans in the works for a brick-and-mortar location, Rancho Road Bakery has plans for a Cookie-of-the-Month project with themed cookies and to set up at the Wallowa County Farmers Market. They have also experimented with themed kits, which include the baked cookies along with the frosting and decorations for people to do their own decorating.
Schreiber summed up their baking endeavor in one short sentence. She said Rancho Road Bakery is “local cookies for local people.”