Home on the Ranger

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ranger Cookies

So, I’m not exactly sure why Ranger Cookies are called Ranger Cookies.  I think it’s because they’re the type of hearty cookie you could take along on trail patrol to prevent any hypoglycemic episodes whilst dousing forest fires and protecting endangered species.  Then again, I’ve developed this “skill” of making things about which I may be unsure sound like unequivocal laws.  But really, my claim that these cookies are freaking delicious is 100% veracious!

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The classic Ranger combo of old-fashioned oats and crisped rice cereal is present in these cookies, but I have taken the liberty of sufficiently adulterating them with my favorite devilish duo:  chocolate and peanut butter.
In a somewhat unconventional turn of events, I decided to add sweetened condensed milk (leftover from another recipe) in place of where I would normally use granulated sugar.  Dry oatmeal cookies are the bane of my existence (that, and open-contacts with Class II fillings), so I figured that the moist addition of the sweetened condensed milk would help to counter the addition of both the dry cereal and the oats.
Crisped rice cereal is one of those things that always baffled me as a kid.  Following its obligatory milk bath, the cereal’s texture always reminded me of papier-mâché — kids these days probably won’t get that one…there’s no app for that.  The only thing that could save this pasty mush was a heaping helping of sliced strawberries and the fact that the cereal was sweetened.  After all, as much as it kills a future dental professional to admit it, Sugar is the universal language of childhood happiness.
In the context of this cookie dough, however, my feelings toward crisped rice cereal are not at all ambivalent…they are very much bivalent (?)  …primarily because I used chocolate crisped rice cereal #gamechanger

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The textural variety in these cookies — crispy cereal, chewy oats, smooth chocolate — combined with a peanut butter punch (the only good kind of domestic violence) will wow your taste buds and motivate you to hike off the calories!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Ranger Cookies

1 stick butter, cubed & at room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (just under half of a standard can)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup chocolate puffed rice cereal
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (or a mix of chocolate and peanut butter chips)
Additional coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, and sweetened condensed milk (using either a hand- or stand-mixer), about 3 minutes on medium speed, until pale and fluffy.  Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.  Scrape down bowl, and beat an additional 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, use a fork to aerate and combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Turn mixer to low, and gradually add dry ingredients, beating no longer than 30 seconds.  Fold in cereal, oats, and chips.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Use two spoons to scoop out and shape golf-ball-sized dough blobs (dough will be too sticky to shape betwixt your sweaty palms).  Plop dough blobs ~2″ apart on prepared baking sheet.  Use a slightly damp finger to smooth off any sticky, pointed edges.  Place sheet in fridge for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle tops with sea salt, and bake 12-13 minutes, rotating sheet after 6 minutes of baking.  Remove from oven when tops and edges are golden-brown, and let cookies sit on sheet for 3 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in airtight containers, at room temp, for up to 5 days.

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