I’ve long wondered the history of Cowboy Cookies, and when I stumbled upon this recipe, I decided the version I’d been told – they traveled well and lasted a while, so they were good for cowboys…kinda like the 1st power bar – was too simplistic a version of why they’re called Cowboy Cookies. Indeed, they are packed with lots of good stuff, from pecans to oats, but there had to be a deeper meaning behind them.
Isn’t there always a deeper story?
And, alas, I may have found an answer. Enter one of my not so favorite sites, HuffPost. Generally, I enjoy their fluff posts – like the history of cookies, but detest when people use them as a viable source for issues that actually matter. No… go to a reputable source. I’m just going to stop here because as a former teacher of a class actually called Research and Presentations (how to find credible sites to gather information and how to actually do a presentation that isn’t the cure for insomnia) I could rant about credible sources for hours. I only use the HuffPost article on Cowboy Cookies because as I searched, I actually couldn’t find much on the history of the cookie. According to them, no one really knows much about how the name came about other than the idea I offered above. The article offers up Laura Bush’s “Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookie” (which is good – I’ve made it before). Maybe it’s so good because, as they say, everything is bigger in Texas? Or is it everything is better in Texas? Either way, it’s a good cookie. Are the cowboys hotter in Texas? Again, I digress.
The article notes, “For many decades, presidential hopefuls have been encouraged to provide family recipes to the public in an apparent attempt to appear wholesome while highlighting family values. After all, nothing portrays family values better than the image of home cooking.” As well, “In 1992, Family Circle magazine decided they wanted to create a legacy in which the wives of presidential hopefuls would submit their favorite cookie recipe, while the readers at home would then bake and vote on those entries. The first ladies to “bake-off” were Hillary Clinton vs. Barbara Bush. Eight years later, Laura Bush’s “Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies” beat out Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps by a landslide. Interestingly enough, this bake-off contest has unintentionally yet ultimately predicted the winners of the presidential election. There has been only one exception which was in 2008 when Cindy McCain’s butterscotch oatmeal cookies beat out Michelle Obama’s orange shortbread cookies.” You can read the whole article if you want, there are some funny quips in there.
I use Canva to create all the social media images I make, and suffice it to say, even with the pro version, the cutest cowboy I could muster is the one on the left. They had others I could have paid for, but 1) they weren’t that cute of a cowboy, and 2) paying for a hot cowboy image seems a bit like prostitution of imagery, and I just don’t really want to go there.
Besides, I’m already paying for the pro version to get “better” images, text, layout, etc. You’d think Canva could muster up some hot cowboy like, I dunno, 98% of the ones in this video:
I’d bake with any of these fellas for my #365daysofbaking challenge.
Anywho. I digress.
I found this Chewy Cherry Cowboy Cookie via Pintrest, and so glad I did. Call it a Pintrest win. These cookies are a “kicked up, grown up”, if you will, version of a traditional cowboy cookie thanks to the addition of tart cherries…hahahaha tart cherries in a comment about fantasies. Sorry. I just turned into a 13 year old boy. Sorry. Like maybe some hottie cowboy will come in your kitchen with his shirt off and hat on to help you make them kinda grown up fantasy version.
Maybe this is my diluted fantasy.
I’ll use the picture from the blog post from the recipe… well, because I didn’t take the time to lay out some pecans, chips, and coconut on a nice wooden board. Kudos to them. And see the light??? That is not natural light, dammit! You go, Renee. You go with your badass light studio for your super yummy cookies.
Mine didn’t turn out too terribly shabby, but I suppose I gotta work on my cookie pictures.
If you look closely at the images above, you will see the ones on the left are a bit darker and flatter than the cookies in the image on the right. Read my thoughts below:
My Thoughts After Baking:
- The recipe does not call to do this, but, do this: roll your dough into the requisite balls, and then chill (if not freeze) the dough balls for at least 20 minutes before baking. The cookies on the left were made straight from the bowl. They were flatter and darker, and ever so slightly most crisp. I scooped all the cookies into balls after that and set them out on my 20 degree screen porch. I pulled the 1st batch out after 20 minutes and baked them for about 10-11 minutes, and that’s the image on the right. A lighter product that was far less flat. The longer they set in the cold, the less they flattened.
- I chopped up my cherries into small bits because I felt my cherries were huge. YUGE! Maybe I should have just cut them in half…either way, you want to sink your teeth into a nice bite of the tart sweetness of the cherry. It’s what kicks this Cowboy Cookie up a notch. Leave it at this, you want YUGE cherry bites in this cookie.
3. There’s a lot of yumminess viaing for attention in this cookie, and I thought a few things about the chocolate chips:
- I’d use mini chips in this recipe. Not yuge ones. But mini milk chocolate chips are hard to find, so maybe chop up some milk chocolate chips or a bar into small bits and add them.
- I’m a milk chocolate kinda gal, so I might play with using more milk chocolate than semisweet chocolate. But that is purely a preferential thing on my part.
4. See the nice image from Renee’s kitchen? She has added those pieces of chips and pecans on top of a cookie that’s come straight from the oven, otherwise, those bits would have melded into the cookie as it baked. See, I actually do know a thing or two about food photos.
Kicked up Cowboy Cookies…do they come with their own hot cowboy?
cookie image credit