One week ago I was mourning the end of summer, dreading my kids going back to school. Everything felt tight and panicky, like I had not appreciated my kids enough and needed to spend every waking moment with them.
Oh the difference a week can make.
We went back to school shopping earlier this week. Fun was had–shoes were purchased, sales were perused, school supplies gathered, loads of cookbooks acquired. And oh yeah whining and grumbling and wheedling and oh yeah did I mention the whining? It is amazing to me, almost like magic. Every August we hit this moment, usually about a week out from school starting, when it becomes oh so clear that my children must go back to school. Immediately. Without delay. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get back to school already!
Yep we’re there.
Like I said, fun was had though. Cookbooks. Loads of cookbooks. I don’t usually use image affiliate links, but this is the easiest way to share my haul with you guys (and I love when people share new cookbooks), so…:
Some were new and some were finds at the used store. And, ahem, I may not have shared quite all of them. But you guys already knew I had a problem. And at least it made dealing with my darling little rascals worth it on that particular day (that and my mom’s company–don’t think I forgot you, Mom!). Coming home to these cookies didn’t hurt either!
I found the base recipe for these cookies in Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz and David Lesniak. They named the cookie for the Tongass Forest National Park because they found the recipe while searching for recipes on a state by state baking tour of America. I changed some stuff around, but I believe my version holds true to the spirit of the original. Crispy, chewy, sweet and salty… John and I both found these intensely addictive. Sammy did not care for them, but she really dislikes all things coconut. The salted top was not in the original recipe, but it was definitely necessary to me, to keep the cookies from getting too sweet. You could use plain puffed rice cereal in this recipe in place of the cocoa cereal; if you are curious, the specific brand I used was EnviroKidz Koala Crisp:
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) AP flour
- 100 g (2/3 cup) white whole wheat flour
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t baking powder
- ½ t kosher salt
- 1 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup Valrhona dark chocolate baking pearls
- 1½ cups cocoa puffed rice cereal
- 2 3-oz white chocolate bars chopped into chunks
- 8 oz (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup, packed, light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t ground vanilla beans (sub more extract if necessary)
- 2 t vanilla extract
- vanilla salt for sprinkling
- Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flakes, oats, baking pearls, rice cereal and white chocolate chunks. Also set aside.
- Beat the butter, preferably in a stand mixer, until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy on medium high speed, about 5 minutes total.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each one. Beat in the ground vanilla beans and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed to completely incorporate for 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed. When it is mostly mixed in, add the mix-ins (coconut flakes, rice cereal, oats, etc). I was able to completely and evenly incorporate them using the low speed on the mixer, but if you have trouble dampen your hands and use your fingers.
- Scrape the cookie dough into a bowl with an airtight seal. Press waxed paper over the dough to create a complete seal, and then also seal the bowl. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 36 hours.
- When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Scoop 3-tablespoon sized balls of dough onto the sheet-6 cookies to a sheet. Flatten slightly and sprinkle with vanilla salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until browning at the edges and set in the middle. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- These cookies are best if eaten within about 36 hours of baking, and are best on the first day.
As mentioned, affiliate links were used in this post, but as always only in reference to products I would be mentioning in any case.