Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Cowboy Cookies

Given my "maximizer" tendencies, that is, an insistence on assessing all possible options to ensure I’ve chosen the absolute best one before making a decision— as my sister has pointedly labeled my behavior—choosing a holiday cookie is not an easy task for me. By not easy, I mean positively agonizing. The possibilities are endless, the angles innumerable. Does one go traditional Christmas cookie, sprinkles and all? Or gingerbread, molasses-rich and deeply spiced? What about dark chocolate, peppered cheerily with candy cane morsels? I poured through all of my cookbooks and read countless “Top 50 Christmas Cookies” lists online, toiling through the comments sections in feverish hope of feeling with finality that I’d chosen the best…

And just when I’d settled for an intricate yet interesting spice cookie with a thin lemon glaze on top, bae glanced at the cookbook photo and told me point-blank that it looked like someone had jizzed all over these Pfeffernüsse varietals. Horrified, I slapped the book shut, ready to start the search from scratch.

“You’re thinking too hard about this,” bae said. “Why don’t you just make chocolate chip? Everybody loves chocolate chip cookies.” My first reaction was to protest, too mundane! Too basic! Too non-holiday! But truth is, bae had a very good point. So I set out to find a recipe for a loaded chocolate chip, and with resolve and conviction chose these Cowboy Cookies—trading my “maximizing” mindset for wholehearted enthusiasm apropos to these spectacular sweets.

I don’t know why they are named “Cowboy”, but I do know this—they’re insanely delicious, easy to make, hard to mess up, and quite the crowd pleaser. I mean, how can a cookie that’s essentially the Original Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe plus pecans, oats, shredded coconut, and cinnamon be anything but? Even for baking dopes like me who don’t let the butter warm to room temp and bake a dangerous 2 minutes past their doneness, they still managed to turn out excellent. For the amateur baker, a resilient cookie is a must.

In its original form, this recipe makes giant, scone-like Levain Bakery style cookies—¼ cup batter allocation per each. I wanted more of a two-bite cookie, so I cut the recipe and cookie size by one-third, which I’ve reflected below. Now, you are free to eat more than one :)

Happy Holidays! Sending all the love and joy of the season from my kitchen to yours. I’ll see you in the New Year.

Cowboy Cookies (from the New York Times)
Makes 30 two-bite cookies

1  cup all­ purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light­ brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup old­ fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup unsweetened flake coconut/ coconut chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, and combine thoroughly.
4. Add egg, beat into batter. Beat in vanilla.
5. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
6. For each cookie, drop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
7. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

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