Friday, December 23, 2011

Cowgirl Cookies

I'm not much of a fancy cookie maker, even at the holidays.  Last year, I cut-out and decorated these sugar cookies using my grandmother's recipe, but other than that I'm a brownie-drop-cookie-biscotti-is-pushing-it kind of girl. My favorite drop cookie recipe is one for Cowboy Cookies published in the Junior League of Monroe, Louisiana's cookbook, Cotton Country Collection. I've been making these cookies for more years than I care to admit.  The cookbook came out in 1972 when I was 9.  I think I started making them when I was 12.  You do the math. 

A cowboy cookie is an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.  Depending on how long you bake them, they can be either crispy or slight soft and chewy.  They are wonderful either way though I prefer the slightly soft and chewy version.  This year, I decided to experiment a bit.  For this batch of cookies, I added toasted pecans and a bit of extra salt to offset the sweetness from substituting toffee chips for half of the chocolate chips. I decided to call this version Cowgirl Cookies.


Great cookies of any sort start with properly creamed butter and sugar.  Creaming butter and sugar softens the butter and whips air into it.  My mom taught me that butter and eggs used in baking should always be at room temperature, even if the recipe doesn't tell you that.  But what exactly is room temperature?   To cream butter properly, it needs to be about 65 degrees.  In most homes, that supposedly takes about 20 minutes out of the fridge.  In my chilly house, butter would never get to 65 degrees without a little help.  I move it under a bright light and use a meat thermometer to measure the temp.  If your butter is 68 degrees or over, don't try to cream it.  At that temperature, the emulsion of water and fat has broken so it won't cream properly.  I don't think the exact temperature matters all that much for eggs -- you just don't want them right out of the fridge so the 20 minute rule of thumb works fine.


Cowgirl Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • t teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  •   3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  2 cups flour
  •  1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup toffee chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars, beating for around 3 minutes on medium-high speed.
  3. Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them, then add the eggs and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.  
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet about a third at a time.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Do not over beat!
  6.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the pecans and toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the pecans become aromatic.
  7. Remove the pecans from the skillet and roughly chop them.
  8. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the oatmeal, chocolate chips, toffee chips and toasted pecans.
  9. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes depending on whether you want crunchy or slightly chewy cookies.
  11. Let rest on baking sheet for a minute or two, then remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
The kids and I, along with the friends we shared them with, love the new Cowgirl Cookies.  The bit of saltiness along with the earthy flavor of the browned pecans balances the extra sweetness from the toffee chips perfectly.  I had to fight to have any cookies left to photo!


1 comment:

The Café Sucré Farine said...

Yum! I love these cookies too! I'd rather have these than fancy fancy cookies any day! Merry Christmas to you an your family!