Alaska – Tongass Forest Cookies

Alaska, the great frontier. We travel there this week to celebrate this amazing state with some Tongass Forest Cookies. While another dessert, Baked Alaska, is commonly associated with this state, we went a different direction.
Baked Alaska is an ice cream dessert with meringue. While perfectly tasty, it was created by a pastry chef in NYC to celebrate the addition of Alaska to the US. The Alaskans that I have met feel it doesn’t really represent their state, so we searched for something else.
We came across these wonderful cookies with the curious name of Tongass Forest Cookies.
Nobody seems to agree on why they are named after the Tongass National Forest. Our thought is that these cookies with the long-ish list of ingredients represent the wildlife diversity in this amazing place. Tongass Forest is the largest temperate rainforest in the world and encompasses fjords, islands and glaciers in its 16 million (!) acres.

There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how the cookies get their name or the ingredients in them. Variations have coconut, chocolate chips, oats, nuts, rice cereal or all of the above. Our version omits the nuts, but includes everything else.

Tongass Forest Cookies

1 c butter
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c coconut
1 c chocolate chips
2 c oatmeal
2 c rice cereal

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cream butter and sugars in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until just combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture just until all flour is absorbed.
Add in coconut, chocolate chips and oatmeal and mix gently. Fold in rice cereal, trying not to break up the cereal too much.
Drop batter 2 T at a time (or use a 3/4 oz scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies slightly. Bake at 375 F for 10-12 minutes until cookies are light brown around the edges.