You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ All Politics Aside -- Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies ~

IMG_4793All politics aside, former first Lady Laura Bush's recipe for cowboy cookies rocks.  Back in 1992, Family Circle magazine began the tradition of a friendly First-Lady Bakeoff contest during every presidential election year.  Hillary Clinton won the very first First Lady Bakeoff when her chocolate chip cookies beat Barbara Bush's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Mrs. Clinton won again in 1996, with Hillary's same recipe for chocolate chip cookies winning over Elizabeth Dole's pecan roll cookie recipe.  Then, in 2000, Laura Bush debuted her Texas Governor's cowboy cookies, which won over Tipper Gore's ginger snap recipe.  While it's all in fun, unlike the other bakeoffs, Laura Bush's recipe became so popular, she gets credited for putting cowboy cookies on the map.

IMG_4800Sometimes called Ranger Cookies, the theory is, these HUGE 4"-5"-round cookies, loaded with a variety of add-in ingredients (much like kitchen-sink cookies), are hearty enough for a hard-working cowboy or a Texas ranger to appreciate. There are many versions of cowboy cookies -- Mrs. Bush's recipe simply made them famous.  I did very little to Mrs. Bush's original recipe -- mine contain an extra teaspoon of both baking powder and baking soda (for a better rise), a tablespoon of chocolate extract (an addition that takes the chocolate-flavor over-the-top), and, I make them smaller (it's a 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop I use for 2 1/2"-round cookies).  

Laura Bush's recipe w/a few minor adjustments by me:

IMG_4729For the dry ingredients:

3  cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1  tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder

1  tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking soda

1  tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2  teaspoons sea salt

For the wet ingredients:

1 1/2  cups salted butter, at room temperature, very soft (3 sticks)

1 1/2  cups granulated sugar

1 1/2  cups firmly-packed dark brown sugar

3  large eggs

1  tablespoon pure chocolate extract

1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the add-ins:

3  generous cups Nestlē Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels (22 ounces)

2  cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2  cups sweetened, flaked coconut

2  cups coarse-chopped, lightly-toasted pecans

IMG_4719 IMG_4719 IMG_4719 IMG_4719 IMG_4719 IMG_4719 IMG_4719~Step 1.  Preheat oven to 350°.  In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients:  the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In a second medium bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Set aside.  Coarse-chop the pecans, placing them in a shallow baking pan as you work.  Roast the pecans in 350° oven until lightly-toasted and fragrant, 6-8 minutes, stopping to stir them with a spoon halfway through the process.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Line 6-8 half-sheet baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

IMG_4737 IMG_4737 IMG_4737 IMG_4737~Step 2.  Place wet ingredients in a large bowl:  the butter, sugar mixture, eggs and both extracts. On high-speed of hand-held electric mixer, beat the until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula constantly during the process, about 2 minutes.  Lower mixer speed, add the flour mixture and gradually incorporate it into the mixture, until a smooth, sticky dough forms, again, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.

IMG_4750 IMG_4750 IMG_4750 IMG_4750~Step 3.  Remove the mixer.  Using the rubber spatula, thoroughly fold in the chocolate chips, followed by all remaining add-ins:  the oats, coconut and pecans.  Take as much time as you need to do a thorough job of incorporating all of the add-ins evenly throughout the cookie dough.

IMG_4768 IMG_4768 IMG_4768 IMG_4768 IMG_4768~Step 4.  Using a 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, firmly-pack and drop balls of cookie dough, well-apart, on parchment lined pans, 12 balls of dough on each pan. Bake cookies, one-pan-at-a-time on center rack of preheated 350° oven, 12-13 minutes, until light-golden. Remove from oven and cool cookies on pan, about 1-1 1/2 minute to give them time to firm up a bit, prior to using a small spatula to transfer to a wire cooling rack, to cool completely.

Great cookies to keep on-hand in your Summertime cookie jar:

IMG_4786All Politics Aside -- Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies:  Recipe yields 9 1/2-10 dozen, normal-size, 2 1/2"-round cookies.

Special Equipment List:  spoon; cutting board; chef's knife; shallow baking pan; 6-8, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 1 1/2" ice-cream scoop; wire cooling rack; small thin spatula 

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09087c56970dCook's Note:  Similar to cowboy cookies, cookie bars or cook squares are also loaded with lots of add-ins.  Congo bars for example.   In most circles, Congo squares or Congo bar-cookies are made by spreading a batch of Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie batter into a square or rectangular pan, then cutting the big cookie into smaller, cookie-sized squares or bars after baking.  They shouldn't be confused with layered or 'magic' cookie bars -- the kind with a graham cracker crust and held together with condensed milk.  The Congo square is a WWII era pan-cookie dating back to 1942.  Try my ~ Tropical Fruit, Nut and Chocolate Chip Congo Bars ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment