First Lady Laura Bush’s classic kitchen sink cowboy cookies won her cookie fame for a reason. They’re made with oatmeal, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips for an over-the-top cookie you can’t resist.
Back in the election year of 2000, Family Circle magazine had a cookie bake-off between Tipper Gore and Laura Bush.
While I’m sure Tipper’s gingersnaps were admirable, Laura’s big Texas cowboy cookies ran away with the prize. And for a good reason, these cookies are good!
What are Cowboy Cookies?
Packed with oatmeal, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips, these cookies aren’t shy. They’re big, hearty, now-that’s-a-cookie kind of cookie.
Mrs. Bush’s original recipe is huge, it can easily make 6 dozen cookies. So I’ve made some slight adjustments to cut the recipe in half, which still makes plenty. Feel free to double it back to the original proportions.
Ways to Adapt This Recipe
The bigger the cookie, the more chewy it can be. So if you like chewy cookies, make them big. If you want chewy cookies, cook them just until the edges are browned. If you cook the cookie until it is all nicely browned, it will be more crisp.
If you’d like, you could swap in a different kind of chocolate chip or nut in this recipe. You could also try decreasing the amount of either of these ingredients and adding some dried fruit, like raisins or dried cranberries.
If you’re not a fan of coconut, you could tinker with leaving it out. You could easily add another half cup of oats.
Storing and Freezing Cowboy Cookies
The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days, after which they tend to start to dry out. You can also wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil, place them in an airtight freezer container or bag, and freeze for up to a month.
The unbaked cookie dough can also be scooped out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and frozen. Once the cookie dough balls are frozen, collect them into a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to a month. Bake as many as you like at a time as directed, increasing the baking time by a minute or two.
Try These Other Over-the-Top Cookies:
Updated December 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.
Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies Recipe
This recipe is a half recipe of the original, which calls for 3 eggs. To get half of 3 eggs, you can either just use only one egg, or beat two eggs and remove about 2 Tbsp.
The bigger the cookie, the more chewy it can be. So if you like chewy cookies, make them big. If you want a chewy cookie, cook them until the edges are browned, but not the whole cookie. If you cook the cookie until it is all nicely browned, it will be more crisp.
Adapted from the Washington Post’s version of Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookie Recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks butter (6 ounces, 12 tablespoons), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 large eggs, beaten (See Recipe Note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (we used shredded)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
1 Preheat oven, prep baking sheets: Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower third. Line two large baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.
2 Whisk dry ingredients: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
3 Make the cookie dough: Place butter in a standing electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Slowly add in the white sugar and brown sugar, and beat to combine, about 2 more minutes. Add half the eggs, beat, and then add the other half and beat again. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture, until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans, mixing until just combined.
4 Scoop out the cookies: If you want large cookies, drop about 1/4 cup lumps of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, separated by 3 inches to allow for enough room for the cookies to spread as they cook.
For smaller cookies, use about 2 tablespoons of the cookie dough per cookie.
5 Bake the cookies: Bake at 350°F for 14 to 18 minutes for large cookies, or 13 to 16 minutes for small cookies. Rotate the pan halfway through baking, front to bake and top to bottom.
Note that if you are using a dark baking sheet, it will absorb more heat, and you won’t need as much baking time. Also, the top rack will bake more quickly because heat rises.
6 Cool the cookies: Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
You’ll likely need to work in batches, depending on the size of your oven and your baking sheets.
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