Cowboy Cookies

Laura Bush's kitchen sink cowboy cookies, with oatmeal, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Back in the election year of 2000, Family Circle magazine had a cookie bake-off between Tipper Gore and Laura Bush. While I’m sure Tipper’s gingersnaps were admirable, Laura’s big Texas cowboy cookies ran away with the prize. And for a good reason, these cookies are good! Packed with oatmeal, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips, these cookies aren’t shy. They’re big, hearty, now-that’s-a-cookie kind of cookie. Mrs. Bush’s original recipe is huge, it can easily make 6 dozen cookies. So I’ve made some slight adjustments to cut the recipe in half, which still makes plenty. Feel free to double it back to the original proportions.

Cowboy Cookies Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

The bigger the cookie, the more chewy it can be. So if you like chewy cookies, make them big.  If you want a chewy cookie, cook them until the edges are browned, but not the whole cookie. If you cook the cookie until it is all nicely browned, it will be more crisp.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (6 ounces, 12 Tbsp), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 large eggs*, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (we used shredded)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

*This recipe is a half recipe of the original, which calls for 3 eggs. To get half of 3 eggs, you can either just use only one egg, or beat two eggs and remove about 2 Tbsp.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower third. Line two large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

2 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

3 Place butter in a standing electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the white sugar and brown sugar, and beat to combine, about 2 more minutes.  Add half the eggs, beat, and then add the other half and beat again. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

4 Lower the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture, until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans, mixing until just combined.

5 If you want large cookies, drop about 1/4 cup lumps of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, separated by 3 inches to allow for enough room for the cookies to spread as they cook. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, then rotate the cookie sheets front to back and top to bottom, and bake for an additional 7 to 9 minutes. For smaller cookies, use about 2 Tbsp of the cookie dough per cookie and cook for 13 to 16 minutes, rotating half way.

Note that if you are using a dark baking sheet, it will absorb more heat, and you won't need as much baking time. Also, the top rack will bake more quickly because heat rises. 

6 Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Then remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

You'll likely need to work in batches, depending on the size of your oven and your baking sheets.

 

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Links:

Cowboy cookies from Brown Eyed Baker
Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies as reported in the Washington Post

Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Venus Childress

    I found another recipe that was based off of this. It called for dried cranberries and divided the fat, half butter, half butter flavored Crisco.
    I stay away from hydrogenated fat, so I substituted coconut oil. I also love dried cherries, so I substituted them for the cranberries. This version has taken the place of my lifetime obsession for chocolate chip cookies.

  • Isolda

    I made these cookies according to the recipe and they were so sweet that they were inedible. I made them the second time with no white sugar and just one half cup of brown sugar. I also substituted one and one fourth cup of whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour, butterscotch morals for the chocolate chips and raisins for the nuts and used two eggs. They were very good and still tasted sweet but were not too sweet.

  • Ruth

    These are so good. I use mini chocolate chips, divide the batter into three or four portions and freeze for baking later. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Becki

    Enjoyed making these, Elise – having visited the Bush library it seemed particularly fun to make them. I substituted cranberries soaked in 3 T of bourbon for 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and added 2 T of flaxseed meal to the dry ingredients. Yummy!

  • Noelle

    I used a mixture of salted and unsalted butter (with additional salt), followed the recipe to a T and yet my cookies are not firm, they sank into thin crispy cookie pancakes.. They still tasted good but they did not come out how they look in the picture :/

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Cowboy Cookies