The day after I made cowboy cookies, eating two of them at my desk in the middle of the afternoon, I told my coworkers that I wasn’t very impressed. The cookies were fine, good maybe, but they weren’t anything that special. A chocolate-chip cookie at heart, they include extras like coconut and nuts and oatmeal, becoming something too complicated and yet fairly simple at the same time. I managed to polish off both cookies, though, commenting aloud that they really were just fine, all while looking down at my plastic baggie, more sad than I’d admit that it was empty.
That was the first batch.
One habit I’ve developed after my experience with the New York Times chocolate-chip cookies is chilling the dough before baking (well, that and forming it all into rounded balls and placing the lot of them on the cookie sheet in the fridge ahead of time, meaning later I can just pull out as many as I want, ready to bake). So the first day I made cowboy cookies was the day I made the batter: I baked about 12 (two sheets).
The second time was a day later, another six cookies. I would have baked more, but I was tired and didn’t want to wait for them in the kitchen. This time, I liked the cookies a little more; maybe they had grown on me or maybe they had changed. It should also be noted, for the record, that the first batch was already gone by this second day.
The final batch I made two (or three? now I’m forgetting) days later, needing to finish baking them all before the dough went bad. The huge benefit of pre-forming the dough is that the baking is SO easy. Literally, I turned on the oven and went to watch TV, then I came back and stuck my cookie sheet with its Silpat and six doughy balls in the oven. Out a batch, in a batch: the kitchen as clean as ever.
This third batch really was the best, less crunchy for some reason and very addicting. For the few days after that they lasted, I got into the habit, unfortunately, of grabbing one every time I would walk through the kitchen, which, truthfully, became more and more often.
These aren’t wow-someone cookies. They’re not especially beautiful or especially hard to make, and, at first bite, you’ll think ho-hum. But wait for the after effects. A few days into these, I swear you’ll wish you still had some left.
Adapted from the queen of cookies, Martha Stewart
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces (3/4 cup) pecan halves
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you’re not using a Silpat, coat baking sheets with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Beat in oats, chocolate, pecans and coconut until combined. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake until edges of cookies begin to brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks. Let cool. (Cookies can be stored up to 3 days.)