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I’m sure you’ve been told more than once that you should never eat cookies for breakfast, let alone chocolate cookies. Well, here’s a recipe that will change this mindset. Cowboy cookies are the original power bar. They are large, hearty and chewy oatmeal-based cookies made with large flaked, old-fashioned rolled oats, shredded coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips.
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Some say that these cookies originated in Texas and that’s why they’re called cowboy cookies. Others claim they got their name because cowboys ate them. Because of their hearty nature these cookies kept well in the saddle and helped fend off hunger while cowboys worked on the ranch. Regardless of the origin and purpose, we can all agree that the combination of oats, coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips make for a delicious cookie for breakfast, mid-day snack or even dessert.
The caramelization of the brown and granulated sugars in the cookie creates a crisp exterior encasing a tender yet chewy interior. And if you’re lucky to snag one a few minutes after it comes out of the oven, the gooey, melty chocolate chips make this cookie so much yummier.
If including nuts such as pecans or walnuts to your recipe, it’s highly recommended that you toast them first. Toasting the nuts not only improves flavour but also texture. Toasted nuts in cowboy cookies adds a nuttier flavour and delicious crunch to your cookies. The easiest way to toast nuts is in a skillet on top of a stove. Simply add the nuts in a single layer to a dry skillet and toast over medium heat. Shake the pan regularly to ensure that the nuts brown evenly on all sides.
Once you can smell the nutty aroma and the nuts are golden, remove the pan from the stove and transfer the nuts onto a paper towel to cool for about five minutes. Once cooled, transfer the nuts to a cutting board and, using a large chef’s knife, chop the nuts into small chunks, about the size of the tip of your little finger.
Chocolate cowboy cookies have all the trappings of a regular cowboy cookie but with the addition of Dutch cocoa powder. They’re like a big chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie but packed with oats, coconut, chocolate chips with a hint of cinnamon. The combination is simply heavenly. They’re great freshly baked right out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk, or at room temperature with a cuppa joe. And if you’re still feeling a little hungry after dinner, sandwich a scoop of vanilla ice-cream between two chocolate cowboy cookies for dessert.
I should warn you that this ice-cream sandwich will be huge, so best if you share it with at least one other person.
Chocolate Cowboy Cookies
3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30g) Dutch cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups (105g) large flaked rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)
1 cup (95g) sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup (170g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted, and chopped into small chunks (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a stand mixer, outfitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Add both sugars in three separate steps and beat mixture until well incorporated and the mixture is fluffy.
Add the egg and egg yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating until the mixture is creamy. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Using a whisk, blend the flour mixture together ensuring that the flour, leavening agents, and cinnamon is well distributed. It is important to complete this step to ensure you don’t over mix the cookie dough.
Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on low speed until the flour is just about incorporated. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, add the rolled oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans, if using. With a rubber spatula, stir the add-ins until well distributed. Again, it’s important to complete this step to minimize overmixing the cookie dough.
Add the oat-coconut mixture to the cookie batter and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the oats, coconut, chocolate chips and nut mixture is distributed. Do not overmix.
Using a 1/4 cup ice-cream scoop, place level scoops of cookie dough, three inches apart, on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes or until the edges are about set. Note that the middle will still look underdone. This is OK. The cookies will set up as they cool. Remove the baking tray from the oven but do not move the cookies. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Makes 16 bakery size cookies
Tip for perfectly round cookies:
Cookies regardless of shape are all equally delicious. However, for presentation purposes, some prefer perfectly round cookies. Here’s a hack to help you achieve that esthetically pleasing shape, just like those you see in magazines.
For this, you will need a large round cookie cutter — I use a five-inch round cookie/biscuit cutter — or similar size tin can or coffee mug. The steps are as follows: As soon as you remove the cookie tray from the oven and while the cookies are still hot, place the cookie cutter over the cookie. Note that the cookie cutter should be larger than the cookie itself to not cut off parts of the cookie. Grasping the top edge of the cookie cutter with all five fingers, swirl the cookie cutter in a circular fashion. This centrifugal motion will create an inward force producing a perfectly round cookie. Note that this trick can only be done while the cookies are fresh out of the oven. As soon as they cool, this hack will no longer work.
Karen Gordon is a food blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com, on Instagram at @karen.t.ology, and on Pinterest @karentologyblog.