Friday, October 8, 2010

Cowboy cookies

Next time I'm in New York, I would really like to go to this bakery.

My obsession started a few weeks ago when I received a copy of the new cookbook from the guys behind Baked, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Once the book arrived, I disappeared. I poured over every page. I pictured myself making every recipe. Salt 'n' Pepper Sandwich Cookies. Orange Creamsicle Tart. And the piece de resistance: Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel Rum Frosting. I'd like to bake myself right into that cake and eat my way out.

The husband would wave his hand in front of my eyes, looking for signs of life.  Then he gave up when he realized he could watch baseball without me trying to change the channel. I was focused, but oblivious.

I decided to start small, with the humble Cowboy Cookie. They sound a little junky but I figured everything would work in harmony. They have chocolate. And pretzels. And brown sugar, coffee, oats, and vanilla. The only thing they don't have that I think could make them even more crazy-good would be toffee. But then, I'm a toffee fiend.

The day I planned to make the cookies, I got all the ingredients ready. I whisked the dry ingredients; creamed the butter with the sugars; blended in the egg and vanilla, the chocolate and pretzels.

"Cowboy cookies coming up shortly!" I shouted to the husband, who was blissfully watching a game, having decided I was a lost cause, and to the other hungry dog, who sniffed the air approvingly.

Then I noticed this sly line: Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least four hours.

Come on, now! Don't sneak game changers into recipes like that. When I make a drop cookie, I expect to eat it within 20 minutes. I like burning my mouth on chocolate chips.

I figured that chilling the dough was an important step, though, and I decided to play by the rules.

Unfortunately, because of the way the day worked out, it was a full 24 hours before I got around to baking these little buggers.

The wait was worth it, though. The cookies are sweet, salty, soft and chewy, with a little crunch. I think chilling the dough for that long softened the pretzels too much--it would have been better to bake them earlier. In any case, the cookies were awesome. I suggest you wrangle some up for yourselves. May as well buy the book while you're at it.

Cowboy cookies 
From Baked Explorations

1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 c. rolled oats
14 T. unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into 1-inch cubes**
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. firmly-packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. espresso powder
2 c. semisweet chocolate chunks (about 12 oz)
3/4 c. thin salty pretzels (about 1 1/2 oz), broken into tiny pieces but not crushed into dust

**About the "cool but not cold butter," the authors recommend removing the butter from the refrigerator, cutting it up in cubes, and using it within 15-20 minutes.

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 1/4 c. 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 1/2 c. of the pretzel pieces.

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

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out dough in 2-tablespoon-size balls (or use a tablespoon measure, which is what I did) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the remaining 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.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown or just start to darken.

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. 

Makes about 36 cookies.


  1. Dang, my kind of cookie, I love that sweet salty combo. And you're right, toffee would make these perfect! If you ever get to NYC, you should also try a compost cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar, it follows the same concept (they're incredibly sweet but so friggin' addictive). Thanks for posting this, I need to find that bakery soon...

  2. Have seen these guys on TV several times (one of the bakers is currently on Top Chef: Just Desserts) and I LOVE their recipes! Just made their chocolate cream pie - soooo GOOD! Have also made their pumpkin whoopie pies and rice krispy peanut butter bars. Let me know what other recipes are good (as if any would be bad!). I'd like to try these Cowboy Cookies. Just came across that Compost Cookie recipe the other day and it's even more "lun-jun": besides the chilling, it asks you to beat the eggs + butter/sugar for 10 minutes, till sugar's all dissolved. But maybe the extra work/time is what makes things good.
    - Pete

  3. Mmmm, pretzels and chocolate.

  4. Cool, these sound a bit like the momofuku compost cookies. I've heard so much about these guys, if I ever get a chance to get to NY, I'm definitely heading there! Oh, and I'm planning on buying myself the book too :)

  5. Hah! Do you remember the old test wandering around school that everyone failed? The final instruction said something like: do not answer any questions on this test.
    Why do we never learn to read a recipe all the way through?? I read the ingredients to make certain I have what I need and that's about it. Who'd ever figure this cookie needed 4 hours in the fridge? It wasn't a rolled cookie, after all! looks delish! I love the salty/sweet combo.

  6. Connie: I would love to try Momofuku anything...I feel like I'm missing out! And for sure, the compost cookies sound awesome.

    Pete: My friend Claire has also raved about the chocolate cream pie. I must make that too, maybe for Christmas or Thanksgiving. You should get one of their books, they are awesome.

    camille: right?

    shaz: maybe someday we will meet up in NYC and go to Momofuku together :)

    Barbara: yes. I remember that. And why I cannot read a recipe through CAREFULLY--not just scan and check the ingredient list--I'll never know.

  7. I loved the first cookbook, and just got the new one. I have actually yet to go to the Baked bakery, itself. But at least I can enjoy their spectacular baked goods by making them myself in my own kitchen.

  8. I think the best food combination besides peanut butter and jelly is chocolate and pretzels! Brooklyn has amazing bakeries...thanks for sharing this because I live here in NY and have never been! These cookies look like the ultimate cookies!

  9. CJ: I kind of want the first one too--not that I need more on my list of things to bake!

    Chef Aimee: You are lucky you live there--you must go!

  10. OH! I didn't know they had a new cookbook!!! Now I must find one. Off to amazon. : )
    Btw, the cookies look awesome.

  11. oneordinaryday: yes, and as you know these are the creators of the rootbeer cake!!

  12. Oh me too daaaaaahling! I want to go to Baked too. Maybe on my next trip to NYC (though they are in Brooklyn, not manhattan). Their brownies are legendary.
    Love the beautiful cookies you made. Please pass one over here!
    *kisses* HH

  13. HH: Yes. I want the brownies too. I think that recipe is in their first book, looks like I will have to buy that one!

  14. HD, I read the recipe to my son (15 will eat anything) and he politely requested that I make them. Yeah right, more like rolled on the floor and begged.
    I loved the "focused but oblivious" description.

  15. terrific ingredients! giddyup, pard.

    yeah, i said it. :)

  16. Pam: Your son will love them--as will you! hope you are well. Let me know when you are in SF next!

    grace: oh no you didn't!

  17. Haha - I hate the four-hour game changer! it usually happens to me with marinades.

    Regardless, it definitely looks like these were worth the wait!