Monday, June 7, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy cookies, stacked half a dozen high.

During my university days back in the U.S., my friends and I would occasionally wander down to the Rosewood Cafe for a bit of warmed brie with fruit and a sliced baguette. One day, we came down and for some reason they couldn't fit us in, so we turned around with a sigh and began to walk toward the door when, "Would you like a cookie?" We instantly brightened. Is that even really a question? Rhetorical or not, we said yes with warmed hearts and child-like glee.

"Alright, let's see... Cowboy or cowgirl cookies?"

The dough, just before mixing in the coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips.

Not really knowing what the person behind the counter was getting at, we asked, "What's the difference?" Then it was pointed out that in the middle of these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies sat a pecan. Nuts, apparently, make a cowboy cookie. Ahem. We chose cowboy over cowgirl and merrily nibbled away at the cookies, forgetting almost entirely about the brie (and about gender issues mixed into the oven, but that's a different story).

Tablespoon sized drops of cookie dough.

That was many moons ago and surprisingly, I hadn't made cowboy cookies until a friend's birthday theme (cowboys v. indians, happy 30th!) inspired me to bake a batch. I decided to go with the cowboy cookie recipe at

Cowboy Cookies
Adapted from

Yields about 3 dozen cookies, from what I can remember, heh

1/2 C  butter flavored shortening
1/2 C (96g)  sugar
1/2 C (101g)  brown sugar
1  egg
1/2 tsp  vanilla
1 C (99g)  all purpose flour
1/2 tsp  baking soda
1/4 tsp  salt
1/4 tsp  baking powder
1 C (80g)  oats
1/2 C (60g)  pecans
3 oz. (85g)  chocolate chips
1/4 C (15-20g)  dessicated unsweetened coconut

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder until just mixed.
  5. Stir in the oats, pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut until just mixed.
  6. Scoop the dough using a tablespoon and drop onto silicone mat lined baking sheets, approximately two inches apart, and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes (14 for me) until cookies start to brown.
  8. Remove to cooling racks.
  9. Enjoy!
Cowboy Cookie Reflections

You don't really taste the coconut, so for people looking for more coconut flavor, increase the amount to your liking, perhaps use sweetened coconut and reduce the sugar in the recipe. I think it mostly adds to the texture and structure of the cookie at the amount given.

It's best to slightly flatten the dough balls before cooking because they spread slightly; given all the chunky yummy things you mixed in, not flattening them a little leads to a less even distribution of the chocolate and nuts, as well as less round cookies. They're nothing wrong with less than circular cookies (in my kitchen, they're the ones that get eaten first), they taste just lovely, but if you're a little neurotic and compulsively eat the less than photo quality ones fresh out of the oven, then a little flattening couldn't hurt.

I used a mix of dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips, mostly because I was nearly out of both. Given the choice between using just one, I would say semisweet would work better in this cookie; I like my cookies reasonably sweet and all dark chocolate might not be sweet enough.

These make a nicely crispy cookie and are excellent with a tall glass of milk.


  1. I've found that oatmeal-type cookies do really well with a complete switch of wheat pastry flour for white flour. The wheat just makes them more nutty and delicious. I'd also switch the shortening for real butter. I know that shortening affects the dough differently than butter, but I like the butter flavor better (and I think it's slightly healthier).

    Maybe I will make these for a party sometime. As they have two things in them that Will hates (coconut and nuts), I'd be the only one eating them, and that would be bad.

  2. I'll have to try using all whole wheat next time. I've been doing a lot of half all-purpose and half whole wheat (even in the apple cinnamon pancakes we did yesterday) to try and up the nutritional value of things. I know real butter tends to spread more, but I guess I could always chill the dough before baking to help them keep their shape.

    I love that I can always dump extra baked goods on my agency here. I mean, as much as I'd like to eat it all, it's probably not for the best, like you said.