Soft, chewy, and filled to the brim with oats, chocolate, pecans, and shredded coconut, these legendary Cowboy Cookies are the ULTIMATE comfort food!!
I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like. These Cowboy Cookies are no exception. This cookie has been on repeat in my house and for good reason. How could you not love a cookie that has oatmeal, chocolate, shredded coconut and toasted pecans?! Now I have to admit, I am not the biggest coconut lover. But after tasting these cookies, it became apparent that the coconut is what made the cookies so special. Combined with oatmeal, coconut gives these cookies an amazing texture. Put that together with melty chocolate pools and toasty pecans and you have cookie perfection.
Cowboy Cookie, A History
Cowboy Cookies have been around for ages and there are many stories of how they came to be. But they really rose to fame when they debuted in a Family Circle magazine courtesy of Laura Bush. During the 2000 Presidential election, Laura Bush’s cowboy cookie went head to head with Tipper Gore’s gingersnap cookie. Family Circle had each of the candidates wives submit a recipe and readers were asked to vote which one was their favorite. The Cowboy Cookie won by a landslide and became an instant favorite.
Of course my all knowing grandmother was the first person to tell me about this cookie and its history. After hearing all of the delicious ingredients, only one thing came to mind….I had to recreate my own version.
Cowboy Cookie Ingredients
- Light brown sugar – I love using brown sugar in cookies!! Brown sugar not only gives baked goods a rich, depth of flavor, it also adds moisture.
- Oatmeal – Old fashioned rolled oats not quick oats are the go to in this recipe. Using quick oats will result in a different cookie texture.
- Shredded coconut – I used sweetened coconut, but if your prefer unsweetened coconut, you can definitely use that as well. Shredded coconut is also preferred over coconut flakes or desiccated coconut.
- Chocolate – Nothing compares to a bar of chocolate!! I used a semi-sweet chocolate bar and chopped it into medium sized chunks. You can also use a bag (12 oz) of semi-sweet chocolate chips. If milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate are more your jam, they can easily be substituted. My favorite brands are Ghirardelli and Guittard.
- Pecans – No you don’t have to toast your pecans, but you would be so much cooler if you did. A good rule of thumb is to toast your pecans first before chopping them. This ensures the small pieces of chopped pecans do not burn. You can bake them in the oven at 350 for ten minutes and finish prepping your other ingredients as they cool before giving them a rough chop.
What I love most about this recipe is its simplicity. They are totally customizable and taste AMAZING regardless of the add-ins. My favorites so far have been toffee, peanuts, walnuts, a sprinkle of sea salt (if you’re craving that sweet/salty combo), the options are endless. Or if you want to get rid of the nuts all together, you can. You do you and make it your own, no judgement here.
Tips for making the best Cowboy Cookies
- You’re hungry, you need that chewy goodness in your life right now, believe me I get it. No one likes going through the motions of creating a cookie dough only to let it chill in the fridge for an hour. But believe me when I tell you, you must. Chilling the dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much and helps the flavors to develop.
- It is important to measure your flour accurately and have your cold ingredients at room temperature. Using too much flour will change the texture of the cookies making them dense. Fluff your flour with a fork first before spooning it into your measuring cup. Use the back of a butterknife to then level off the excess flour.
- Don’t over-mix!! Over mixing will result in a dense cookie as well. Mix your dough until all the ingredients are just combined. It is important to mention that the dough will be thick.
- When scooping the cookie dough, I like to use a 2 1/2 scoop. If you have a scale, you can also weigh your dough!! The dough should equal approximately 1.7 ounces.
- I love a slightly under baked cookie. These cookies will take anywhere between 9 to 11 minutes to bake. Mine were done at 11 minutes. One thing to look out for when checking for cookie doneness is if they look slightly gooey in the center. Don’t worry, you want them to look that way. After removing them from the oven, they will harden as they cool.
- My best tip is to reserve a little chopped chocolate and add a small chunk of chocolate on top of your cookie dough before placing them in the oven. This creates those melty pools we all know and love.
- If you are not ready to bake your cookies, form dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet. Freeze until the dough is solid then place balls into a freezer friendly container until ready to use. Add 2 to 3 minutes baking time.
What do Cowboy Cookies Taste Like
This cookie tastes like a glorified oatmeal cookie but oh in all the best ways!! With one bite, you are transported. The chewy, oatmeal gives way to the gooey chocolate pools who create a literal chocolate pond in your mouth. The warmth of the cinnamon combined with the crunch of the toasted pecans imparts a earthy, nutty flavor. And for the grand finale, the shredded coconut intertwines with the oatmeal resulting in a chewy explosion. Are you drooling yet? I know I am!!
How to store
These cookies should be stored in a airtight container for up to five days for maximum freshness. If you only need to bake a small amount, bake what you need then freeze the rest. You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months. This cookie dough can also be made a day in advanced and stored in the fridge. Just make sure the dough is covered tightly with plastic wrap until you are ready to bake.
The Best Ever Cowboy Cookies
- Stand Mixer
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperture (2 sticks)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs large
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into large chunks (12 ounces), plus 1/2 cup to place on top of cookie if desired
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- In a medium bowl, shift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and both sugars. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Reduce speed to low and add eggs and vanilla, beat until well combined. About 1-2 minutes.
- Add flour and mix until mostly combined. Some flour streaks in dough are ok.
- Add oatmeal, shredded coconut, toasted pecans, and 2 cups of the chopped chocolate. Mix on low until just combined being careful not to overmix dough. Overmixing the dough will result in dense cookies. Dough will be thick.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop dough into balls (about 2 ½ tablespoons). If you have a food scale, dough should equal 1.7 ounces. Place 6 balls of dough onto the lined baking sheet, about two inches apart. Press 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into dough if desired.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 9-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown (mine were done at 11 minutes). Cookies are better when they are slightly underbaked. They should look slightly gooey in the center and will harden as they cool.
- Remove from the oven and let cookies sit on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
I love these cookies and so does everyone else who eats them when I make them! I have been making them the last couple years at Christmas time. They are wonderful!