Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cowboy cookies

cowboy cookies

My plan had been to write about baseball this week. But then the Astros didn’t do so well on Opening Day and I got word about an award this blog won so, well, I decided to bake cowboy cookies instead. I hope you don’t mind.

Cowboy cookies probably have very little to do with cowboys, but this doesn’t mean they’re not good. Typically, a cowboy cookie is defined by the presence of brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, chocolate and nuts. And some people doll them up even more by throwing in some coconut and raisins as well.



My assumption is that the recipe for cowboy cookies was probably originally found on a package of oatmeal or brown sugar. I couldn’t find proof of this, but a little digging did reveal that the recipe has probably been around for at least 60 years as I read a document written in the early 1980s that said one woman's recipe had been in her family for over 40 years. And yep, it was the same one we all use today.

I also found a recipe for cowboy cookies in a 1959 edition of the Toledo Blade, though this one was completely different. This cowboy cookie called for molasses, coffee and boiling water, along with eggs, butter and flour. Perhaps there’s a hint of authenticity to that recipe as those ingredients are more likely to be found on a chuck wagon than chocolate chips and oatmeal. I didn’t make those cookies, however, as I wasn’t in the mood for a cookie made with coffee—I wanted the cowboy cookie I’d grown up with, full of oats, chocolate and nuts. And my, these did not disappoint.

Now, about that award. Well, I don’t want to sound boastful, but I have to say that I am over the moon that Homesick Texan was recognized in the First Annual Saveur Food Blog Awards as best regional cuisine blog. A Texas-sized congratulations to all the winners and nominees. And also, many thanks to both Saveur and you for your support. Now go enjoy these cookies—I baked them for you!

cowboy cookies

Cowboy cookies, adapted from Saveur
Ingredients:
1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, place the pecans in an oven-safe skillet and roast in the oven for five minutes. Remove from oven.

Cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and add to butter, sugar and egg mixture. Beat until well incorporated, and then stir in oats, chocolate chips and roasted pecans.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, place on parchment-sheet lined cookie sheets and bake for 14-17 minutes. Should make about 24 cookies.

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84 comments:

Dragana said...

Congratulations on a well deserved award - all of Texas must have voted for you, and that's huge! These cookies look like a winner. Thanks for sharing.

Vicky Lynn said...

Congrats on your award! I'll bake a batch of these cookies tonight in celebration. These have always been favorite of mine.

Carolyn said...

Love this blog! I'm a homesick Texas living in Austria..talk about missing Mexican. I can't even find black beans here. Damnit. From Houston as well. Thanks for the recipes and great pics abroad!

china said...

my dad's favorite cookies are almost just like these except with bacon instead of chocolate chips. i had some bacon and some cookies and he flippantly suggested bacon cookies. so i made them for him and we were all surprised by how tasty they were.

Mugulous said...

These are my favorite cookies! I'm a fellow homesick Texan and my mom always made these growing up :)

I love your blog... its true Texan comfort food... things you just dont get when you move away, and that are hard to explain to others! Thanks!!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

Congratulations on your award! You deserve it!! Love these cookies and my cowboy at home will as well!!

Scraphappy in AK said...

Congrats on your award! Love your blog. And we used to make some cookies like these too. Just wish I could run home and bake some up right now.

The Big Guy said...

Congrats HT!

You've always been at the top of MY list!

Jay

Elz said...

Congratulations. We called these "Ranger" cookies growing up, so there is a baseball link, just with the Rangers instead of the Astros!

Steff @ The Kitchen Trials said...

1) I love these cookies. My mom would make them for me sometimes, and it has been far too long since I've had any.

2) (and more important!) Congratulations! So glad you won the Saveur Food Blog Award. It is well deserved. (not that i'm a biased, ex-pat Texan or anything. nope. not me.)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the award! Well deserved. Also nice to see that others agree that this is among the best of the best!!

pc

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

A HUGE Texas-sized congratulations to you Lisa! So, so exciting - can't wait to get the issue!

Janus said...

Congratulations on the award!

I suppose if you wanted to get really cutesy with these cookies, you could use a cowboy boot-shaped cookie cutter.

laura said...

When I was growing up, my family called Cowboy Cookies chocolate chip cookies made with M&Ms instead of chocolate chips. I've never heard otherwise until today, but apparently, my family just made this craziness up.

Congratulations on your award! I love learning about Texas cooking, and hope you keep sharing for a long time to come!

Kalyn said...

Congratulations on the award! So well deserved, your blog is great!

Memória said...

Congratulations on the award! You definitely deserve it.

These cookies look fantastic.

kickpleat said...

Congratulations on the award! As for these cookies, thank you! They look amazing and I will be making them shortly.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Dragna--You're welcome and thank you!

Vicky Lynn--Aren't they good?

Carolyn--Can you order from mexgrocer.uk?

China--Bacon????

Mugulous--Exactly! It's very hard to explain to others.

Cathy--Thank you!

Scraphappy--Every office should have an oven, I think!

Jay--Good to see you! And thank you!

Elz--Ah, so I did write about baseball. Good to know!

Steff--Yep, they're classics. And we have ex-pats have to stick together!

Miss Meat & Potatoes--Thank you!

PC--Thank you!

Janus--Oh, yes! I didn't even think of that!

Laura--I don't think it's entirely crazy. I love M&M cookies!

Memória--Thank you!

Kalyn--Thank you!

Kickpleat--Enjoy!

TaraTakesTheCake said...

congrats congrats congrats! a well deserved award! i voted for you and i absolutely love your blog

Pam said...

Yum!!! Interesting with the cowboy cookies! Congrats on the award, great blog!

Donna said...

From one Texan to another...You go Girl! You deserve it! Congratulations! I have all the ingredients for these cookies at home now. These are up on my baking list! Thanks for sharing!

JA said...

I'm intrigued by the recipe you mentioned for "authentic" cowboy cookies in "Blade". If you have it, could you post that recipe for us?

Thanks, love your blog!
Jessica

CarolAnn said...

Cowboy cookies are terrific. I've made them with coffee and I actually prefer them that way, but then I'm a die hard coffee drinker. :)

Congratulations on the award. Well deserved.

I supposed I should hide behind that wall over there before I point out that the Rangers won their opener yesterday. :) *ducking and running*

California Country said...

Congrats! Your site has been an inspiration and I always knew it was the best ;). These cookies sound similar to Ranger Cookies when dolled up with coconut and what not.

Sarah said...

Just a question - is it really only 6 teaspoons of butter or should that be tablespoons?

Always love your posts - your flour tortilla recipe especially has saved me from tortilla awfulness in London. Award well-deserved!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Tara--Thank you!

Pam--Thank you!

Donna--That's why I made them, too--I had all the ingredients!

JA--Here's a link: http://is.gd/bhz3P Let me know if you make them!

CarolAnn--Do you use coffee grounds are brewed coffee? And no worries, I'm sure there are plenty of Rangers fans here so I'm happy for y'all!

California Country--I'm going to have to research the phrase Ranger cookie!

Sarah--Oops! Thank you--hope this doesn't disappoint but it's 6 Tablespoons!

maewestern said...

Way to go, Lisa! But as far as I'm concerned, your blog (and your recipes) have always been my favorite. Well-deserved congratulations for some great comfort food recipes and inspiration!

Weekend Cowgirl said...

Congratulations on your blog award! Well deserved. I very much enjoy your blog.
I have had a variation of this recipe for years and this is a good reminder to make them soon!

Mia said...

You deserve oh so many awards! I love that your recipes are precise enough that I don't feel left in the dark, but are written in a way that allows me to learn techniques and styles. I cook so many different things based on the basic techniques I've learned from your blog. Plus, I grew up in the southwest and now live in CT...while Texan food isn't quite the same as what I grew up on, it is delicious and it totally does the trick! Congratulations!

paularubia said...

I love your blog, and you deserve that award!

Erica Lea said...

Congratulations! You certainly deserve it. Your writing and photos are wonderful.

This cowboy cookie recipe looks scrumptious. Thanks for the background info!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

So many congrats on your award! You deserve it. These cookies remind me of some cookies my mom used to bake when I was little - I think she called them Ranger cookies for some strange reason. The combination of flavors sounds good to me, no matter what they're called!

diamondfire42 said...

Congratulations on your award! I am not a Texan, but I believe there is a kinship between people that recognize that bacon and gravy have their own place in the food pyramid.

I never knew what these cookies were called all I knew was my favorite cookie was oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip, coconut, and nut! We called it the "Loaded Cookie". I was the only that would eat them, so I didn't get them very often until I learned to bake. My mom complained that I had so many things in the cookies that the batter was just a binder! That's how it should be sometimes!

Kimberly said...

Congratulations! When I tell my hubby what you've posted...I am sure he'll be asked me to make these cookies for him. He's the biggest "kid" in our house for sure!

Erin @ FarmhouseFoodie said...

My grandma wasn't the sort of grandmother who baked delicious cookies and cakes and served them adoringly to her grandchildren. She was the sort of grandmother that would make you a dry turkey sandwich - half if she thought you were looking a little chubby. She did, however, make cookies that were very similar to these. She called them Pat Boone cookies and we gobbled them up whenever they made an appearance. Thanks for the great memory (and a recipe that doesn't include a couple sticks of lard).

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Maewestern--Thank you!

Weekend Cowgirl--It's always a good time to make them!

Mia--I'd say Texas food is close enough to the SW, especially when you're in CT.

Paularubia--Thank you!

Erica Lee--That's always the most fun for me--doing the research. Thank you!

Tasty Eats at Home--And another person who knows them as Ranger cookies. I love it!

Diamondfire42--Yes, the fellowship of the bacon and gravy is STRONG!

Kimberly--Cookies bring out the kid in everyone!

Erin--OK, I've heard several variations on the name, but Pat Boone cookies is the best one so far! Love it!

Sweettea said...

Congratulations on your award!!! I am new to your blog and this is my first post. My best friend emailed me a link (we are both homesick texans living across the country from one another) I just made the cookies and I am eating one right now as I type this-Delicious. These cookies are easy and quick to make. I hope everyone tries them. Thanks for the good work and all the entertainment and memories of back home.

lisa said...

Thank you! I was just thinking how I'd like a cookie right now, and these look perfect. More importantly, congratulations on the award! Well deserved.

gih said...

That's too sweet, and I love eating that cookies. Not too much because of diabetes.

Deb said...

Congratulatiosn on the award, it´s well deserved!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sweettea--Welcome! And thank you--hope you enjoy reading it!

Lisa--Anytime is a good time for cookies!

Gih--Perhaps you can have a small one.

Deb--Muchas gracias!

Cynthia said...

Congrats on your Saveur award!

Ina Pickle said...

These are a family favorite -- and they are in the La Pinata cookbook, the McAllen Jr. League cookbook we were discussing a couple of posts back! But ours have shortening in them. Slightly different mouth feel.

I've made them with a few butterscotch chips thrown in, and the results are also a hit.

Jennifer N. said...

I voted for you in the Saveur competition! I'm so glad you won!

I'm another homesick Texan in California... who's going home again in August. (Well, sorta. Home is Houston, and I'm moving back to Austin.) I'm looking forward to all of the queso, bbq, and Ninfa's green sauce I can eat.

Oh, but don't worry. I will continue to use your blog as my "family" recipe book. I can't tell you how many times I've passed off a delicious meal that I've cooked straight from here as my own homemade versions of childhood classics. Thanks for being an enabler. In fact, this cookie recipe has jumped to the front of the line for my next dinner party.

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

Wooowheeee! YEAH! Go TEXAS!! So glad you won - can't think of a better culinary ambassador to represent us all!! Woot! I'm so happy!

Congrats from a fan in Katy, TX!

Wendy said...

I make those cookies too! And I use pecans instead of the walnuts it lists. They don't last long!

I first made them when I was teaching preschoolers and for the letter C we made the Cowboy cookies. Went well with the cowboy theme of the week. They loved it and I have been making them at home ever since.

Steph, Ian and Marshall said...

LOVE your blog and thanks for the reminder of these cookies! I had Cowboy and Ranger cookies, but in both instances, I'm pretty sure they also had a handful of rice crispies in them as well...

The Nervous Cook said...

Congrats on the honor, and I love your blog as well! Keep up the good work -- and the good cookies.

allison said...

My great-grandmother made these and always called them Ranger Cookies, too. I never got the recipe from her before she passed a decade ago, and there are so many conflicting recipes online. Yours sounds most like what I remember. Woohoo!

I suspect these may actually be named after the old west- cowboys and the (non-baseball) Texas Rangers are not all that disimilar with their horse ridin', hat wearin' and gun totin'. I've seen these called "kitchen sink" cookies online as well and cowboys were known for putting together meals with what they had. It sounds plausible to me, at least. I could be making things up, though. Wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. But it sounds good to me and my great-grandma was a little western ways.

I wonder what the next recipe is going to be... Congrats!!

HZ in DF said...

I have to chime in with the others who are calling these Ranger cookies...I think my mom's recipe calls them Texas Ranger cookies, but definitely with the coconut and raisins added.

And a big YEEHAW! for your win.

Tallgrass Kitchen said...

Congrats on the award! I love getting my Texas fix from you (I'm up in Wisconsin). I just made your flour tortillas the other night.

I love cowboy cookies - I wonder how they would taste using the Cook's Illustrated/Alton Brown method of using melted butter, and letting it brown first? If I try it, I'll let you know!

Bruce Swabb said...

Congratulations! It is no surprise to me. I have gotten so much good stuff from this blog.

BTW, I cooked up the green chile chowder and it was awesome - but man it was spicy! So for my chowder contest, I may need to back it down to 2 poblanos and two anaheims(that should still have a kick).

Rubyfruit Radio said...

congrats on winning best blog. yours is the only food blog worth reading. :)

Going to make some cowboy cookies today and also tacos al carbon.

BookWyrm said...

My sympathies for the Astros and the beginning of the season, but it only the beginning. It will get better!

My congratz on the awards!! Totally well deserved. I love your blog and it is my fav for the texas style food I grew to love while in grad school (UNT) and miss back up here in the north east.

I'd love to see that 1959 recipe if you can post it? not sure that I have access to any DBs with the 1959 Toledo Blade in them!

Julie said...

Yum, makes me wish I wa a cowboy!
congrats on your award :)

Julia said...

These cookies look wonderful!

PJ said...

Hi Lisa, I followed you from Gluten Free Girl - I was intrigued by your name as I'm also a homesick Texan :) Your recipes will keep me coming back! Thanks,
Pamela

Anonymous said...

Lisa, Congratulations on the award. I just discovered your blog about two weeks ago and it has quickly become a favorite. Also, thank you! I've been trying to find a mole recipe for a while and tried yours last week - it is fantastic. Now I'm off to cook the Cowboy Cookies.

Debbie
(Texan lucky enough to still live in Texas)

Texana said...

Congrats on your award! That is totally awesome and certainly well-deserved. BTW, last week I visited my Texan grandkids who now live in Calgary and I made your flour tortillas for our fajitas--they were pronounced the "best tortillas in the whole world." So there, you have it on good authority! (Your recipe really is the easiest and best one I've ever made.)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Cynthia--Thank you!

Ina Pickle--They'd be great with butterscotch chips, I bet!

Jennifer--Why thank you! I am happy to enable!

Cheri--I think I'm going to add that title to my resume--culinary ambassador--I love it!

Wendy--I much prefer pecans to walnuts, too.

Steph--What? Rice Crispies? I've got to try that. I have a friend who throws Rice Crispies into her cheese straws and that makes them so light!

The Nervous Cook--Thank you!

Allison--I think that sounds like a good theory!

HZ--I'll have to do some research on that. And thank you!

Tallgrass Kitchen--Yes, please do!

Bruce Swabb--I'm sorry it was too spicy for you. And yes, Anaheims are much more tame. Good luck with the contest!

Rubyfruit Radio--Gracias!

BookWyrm--Oh, yes, it will only get better! And here's the link: http://is.gd/bhz3P

Julie--Thank you!

Julia--Gracias!

PJ--Welcome! And where do you live now?

Debbie--Oh, yay! I'm so happy you liked the mole recipe!

Texana--Now that's high praise! Thank you!

Twi said...

Well deserved! I actually also voted for you as well. We've recreated green chili, pozole, and of course - the tortillas - in my Tex-pat kitchen, and it's taken me down nostalgia lane...(and cured some of my homesickness, if only for a short while). Thanks and congratulations!

Jaye V.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

It couldn't be more well-deserved, Lisa! As I've said from the first day I read your blog, you make us all homesick for Texas.

kristin said...

Congrats on the award. These sound great and I thinkI am gonna hunt down the version with coffee and molasses to try, too. Keep on bloggin'

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

As you mentioned, I add coconut to mine. I've never heard them called Cowboy Cookies -- love that name!

Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said...

Congratulations!

shawthy said...

these are my FAVORITE cookies to make. In addition to the delicious pecans, chocolate chips, oats and cinnamon, I also add coconut. Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

A friend made these for us when our first daughter was born. They are amazing. I have since made them for other new parents. They have a little bit of everything!

Sarah said...

Just pulled a batch out of the oven and could hardly keep my partner from pouncing on them. So good!

Nancy said...

You SO deserve that award! Very pleased for you...Your blog is always a winner to me!

Vivianne said...

Congrats on the award! These cookies look amazing, wish I had some right now, but as a fellow New Yorker, I have no ingredients in my kitchen... ah well. To be honest, even if I had the ingredients, I have no skill, so what the hell. I'm off to BUY cookies! =)

Keesha aka Prissycook said...

Cowboy Cookies are the type of cookie Laura Bush submitted to Family Circle for the Presidential First Ladies Cookie Bake-off. For the past 50 years, the winning cookie also matched the election. Further to the point, Michelle Obama's cookies beat out Cindy McCain's last year.

Rachel said...

We've been making these cookies since Moby Dick was a minnow.
They're a favorite in our house adn everyone's we serve them too! ;-)

Our recipe calls for coconut and it adds the best little bit of sweetness ;-)

Mary said...

I can't wait to try this recipe out! I have recently moved from Houston to Washington state and am in serious withdrawel from all things Texas. Hopefully these cookies will make up for the Astros losses so far!

Mighty Atom said...

What a coincidence--a friend sent me a link to your blog today after I made these cookies (from the Saveur recipe, which also includes coconut--I think this is important for texture and softness) and told her they were Texan (I'm a Texan transplanted in Washington DC). Everyone LOVES these cookies. My tricks: I double the recipe (no need to mess with tablespoons this way since 12 Tbs=3/4 c), let the dough sit in the fridge for a day or two before baking, bake them extra large (golf ball sized), and sprinkle them liberally with sea salt when they come out of the oven. Thanks for the great blog!

caitlin @ thesubletkitchen said...

THANK YOU for posting this recipe! my boyriend is from texas and has his family send him these cookies to new york. i can't wait to make them for him.
you're blog is wonderful, i can't wait to surprise him with all of these recipes

jwu said...

These sound very similar to those "Neiman Marcus Cookies". The one from the chainletter saying they are sending the recipe around because they got charged $250.00 instead of $2.50. Since most versions of that state that it was a Dallas Neiman Marcus that did it, I guess that makes sense.

Rachel said...

I made these a few days ago. 17 minutes would have burnt these cookies (maybe I made them too small, because I got way more than 26 good sized cookies.) I took them out after 12 and they were crispy cookies once they had cooled. I'll probably try making these bigger and still cooking them for 12 minutes. They were VERY good!

Peggy said...

We have a very similar which has been in our family since the mid 40's. The only difference in the recipe is the quantity (6 dozen cookies), baking time, and no cinnamon or nuts. All in all it is the cookie recipe I grew up and the one my boys now love even better than store bought cookies. I will have to try them with just a hint of cinnamon to see what my crew thinks! (oh my mom was a child in Nebraska when grandma started making this recipe!)

Heidi J said...

I had a similar problem as Rachel. 17 minutes was way too long, they were overdone (though not quite burnt) and very flat. I ended up adding a bit more flour, lowering the oven temperature 20 degrees and only baking them for 11 minutes and then they came out looking like how yours do above. The pecans only toasted for 7 minutes too and they were very close to getting burnt. 6 minutes probably would have been better. The cookies have a great flavor to them though.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Heidi--Thanks for the feedback.

Saya said...

I have made these cookies 3 times in the last 2 weeks and everybody is absolutely LOVING them! My in laws, my neighbers, nephews and best friends! A new concept for the likes of us non cowboys here in Sydney.... we are all going nutty over them and they are getting guzzled away quick! Thank you so much for sharing. The recipe is a keeper xo

Saya said...

PS: If I post this recipe/pic of my cookies on my blog and link it back to this page is that ok? Thanks xo

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Saya--I'm glad you like the recipe, but unfortunately, you can't post the picture nor the recipe on your blog. Here's more information about proper ways to link to blogs. http://foodblogalliance.com/2009/04/recipe-attribution.php
Thanks.

Liza in Ann Arbor said...

What I love about this cookie is the chocolate chips. I'm always so disappointed when my oatmeal cookie contains raisins. Chocolate is so much better! By the way, I made my way here from Andi's newsletter today.

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