Often, I like cookies that have one or two main ingredients that stand out. Chocolate chip cookies. Cinnamon-rolled snickerdoodles. Peanut butter cookies. But every once in a while it’s fun to indulge in a cookie that has a little bit of everything in it and these Ranger Cookies are the perfect example of that.
I’ve seen these “everything cookies” show up under many names before, including “kitchen sink” cookies and “cowboy” cookies. The recipes vary from cookie to cookie, but the underlying idea is that the cookies have a lot going on inside. The first time I saw this ranger cookie recipe, it was printed in a local newspaper (the LA Times, but I have a clipping of the recipe and not a link to the old article) and attributed to a 1952 Los Angeles Unified School District’s cafeteria, where they baked their own cookies instead of ordering them from some larger supplier, as is more commonly done today.
I made a few changes to the original recipe I had, changing the amounts of ingredients here and there to suit my tastes, but the overall effect of having some of everything is the same. The cookies include oatmeal, rice krispies, chocolate chip, shredded coconut and walnuts, as well as butter, salt, sugar, vanilla and all the other key elements of a good cookie base. They’re full of favor and, while the come out of the oven crispy around the edges, they take on a slightly chewy texture after they have cooled. The nuts add a bit of a crunch and the rice krispies, while not dramatic themselves, add a certain lightness to the cookies.
These cookies don’t spread quite as much as you think they will based on the size of the balls of unbaked dough simply because they have so much stuff packed into them. They’ll spread out some, of course, but they will be a bit thicker – especially those that end up with a slightly higher proportion of chocolate chips or walnuts in them.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats (regular or quick cooking, not instant)
1 1/2 cups rice krispies
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, either by hand or with the mixer on low speed. Mix in oats and rice krispies, then stir in chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts until everything is well-distributed.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet (approx 1 1/2-inch balls).
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until edges are turning golden brown. Cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.