The name, cowboy cookie, is a bit fantastical. I mean, I am fairly certain that there is only just the faintest hint of connection (if any) between actual cowboys and these cookies. My basic, modest research cannot find a reference anywhere stating that they were invented by cowboys, enjoyed by cowboys, or made in honor of cowboys. It seems the name is simply a sly reference to the rugged manliness implied by the cookie’s bigness and embrace-it-all ingredients.
Whatever their origins, they are delicious. The typical components of the cowboy cookie are oatmeal, chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans, crunchy exterior, and chewy interior. Ours is slightly different. I opted to do away with the nuts and added salty pretzels; we also tossed in some instant espresso powder to add a grown-up (maybe cowboyish) flavor.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the oats and stir to combine.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat for 5 seconds. Dissolve the espresso powder in ¼ cup hot water and add it to the bowl, mixing until combined.
Add half of the dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the chocolate chunks and ¼ cup of the pretzel pieces.
Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours.
Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon–size balls (or use a tablespoon measure) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup pretzel pieces over the dough balls. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down lightly; don’t smash the cookie—you just want to slightly flatten the ball and push the pretzel pieces into the dough.
Set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days (though I doubt they will last that long).
© 2010 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.