Cowboy Cookies

Salty and sweet. It’s my favorite combo when it comes to desserts. When I go to the movies I never want just popcorn or candy, it has to be both so I can mix them together and get a little of both in each bite. You do that too, right? :) I’d never heard of cowboy cookies before coming upon this recipe while flipping through my copy of Baked Explorations recently. I read the headnote, which explained that cowboy cookies are traditionally made with oatmeal, chocolate chips and either walnuts or pecans. Given my feelings about nuts, I was extremely glad to read that the authors’ version eliminated those pesky walnuts or pecans and substituted pretzels. Chocolate and pretzels? A salty and sweet match made in heaven. I knew these cookies would be a hit here.

Cowboy Cookies

And I was right, they were delicious! Their texture is perfectly chewy thanks to the addition of the oats and the dark brown sugar in the recipe gives them a deep, rich flavor that I loved. There are pretzel pieces baked into the cookies as well as sprinkled on top; don’t be shy with the pretzel pieces on top, they really drive home the salty flavor. The only (very minor) downside to the cookies is that the dough has to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours before baking. On the plus side, the dough is completely irresistible, though maybe that’s not such a plus if you love raw cookie dough like I do. I warn you, don’t even get started on this one! After I’d baked a few cookies for myself, I portioned the rest of the dough onto my baking sheet, froze it, and dropped the balls into a resealable bag that I’ll leave in Shane’s parents’ freezer. A little treat for them to enjoy when they get back – nothing says welcome home like freshly baked cookies!

cookies

Cowboy Cookies
from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

{Note – you want the butter cool, but not cold. The authors suggest cutting it into cubes and letting it sit at room temperature for only 15-20 minutes
before starting on the recipe.}

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes (see note above)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (about 12 oz)
3/4 cup thin salty pretzels (about 1 1/2 oz), broken into tiny pieces

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the oats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk – continue beating until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract then beat for 5 seconds. Add the espresso powder to 1/4 cup hot water, stirring to dissolve. Add to the mixer and beat until combined (your batter will curdle, don’t worry it’ll come together when you add the dry ingredients). Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl and beat just until incorporated then beat in the remaining dry ingredients, again just until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate and 1/2 cup of the pretzel pieces.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into about 2 tablespoon balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle some of the remaining pretzel pieces over the dough and use your palm to gently press them into the dough (but don’t flatten the cookies too much).

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown and the edges are set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 36 cookies