Justin's Cowboy Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups [12 ounces] chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. It's easiest to move the oven racks arouund to the right spot before doing this. In my oven, I put the rack I'm going to bake on as close to the middle as possible.
  2. Dump flour, oats, soda, salt into a medium sized bowl. Mix them together with a fork, wisk, or other utensil.
  3. In the KitchenAid1, mix together the butter and both sugars. After they look throughly mixed ... smooth, consistent texture ... add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until the eggs are completely beaten in.
  4. Slowly add the flour/oats mixture to the stuff in the KitchenAid. Once it's nicely mixed, add the chocolate chips. I rarely put a whole 2 cups in, as that's really an awful lot. After all, I need some to munch on so I stay out of the cookie dough.
  5. Plop dough balls onto parchment on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. It's OK to take them out slightly underdone. Most people like them this way, and they'll stiffen up as they cool. I plop them using a #30 or #60 disher. A spoon works well, but isn't as consistent and rarely makes them as tall. [Making them nice and tall will help make them chewier and yummier.]

Commentary:

This recipe is an adaptation of the Toll House Choc Chip recipe, inspired by Susan Purdy's Cowboy Crunch variation, that I tried because it was similar to my mother's Cowboy Cookie recipe. [Which actually came from Mrs. Rose down the street.] It generally comes out just like I like it, so I stopped playing with it a long time ago. While fairly reliable, the cookies are sometimes taller and more cakelike than other times. Mother has mentioned similar issues with her recipe. I dish mine onto parchment paper with a #30 or #60 disher. The #60's are smaller.

Susan Purdy says [in The Family Baker that "to make a flat, very crisp, buttery cookie, use all butter. To make a thicker, slightly chewy cookie, use half butter and half solid shortening (Crisco) for the fat." I rarely use anything but real butter. If I do, I use real margarine. I'm not sure if I've ever used Crisco in 'em or not. I find that mine are thick and chewy. That said, your mileage may vary.

This recipe is not that far off of Christopher Kimball's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie found in The Desert Bible. Kimball comments that many of us baking at home overbake, which results in dry, hard cookies. He suggests looking at the bottom of the cookie to review doneness, asserting it "should be lightly browned."

My mother likes to dump raisins, nuts, and whatever else she finds in the pantry in her version. Personally, I like mine unadulterated. Everyone has her own way, I guess.

One complaint I often have with other people's cookies is the amount of salt. In fact, I'm not sure I even use a whole teaspoon myself. Probably a 1/2 teaspoon. I think most people use the full teaspoon AND buy salted butter. When I buy ingredients, I work really hard to find stuff w/o salt in it so that _I_ can control the salt content, rather than the raw ingredient manufacturers.

[1]Okay, so you probably don't need to use a KitchenAid. A big bowl and a wooden spoon should work fine. Then again, what would life be without my KitchenAid?

-jbn