These gloriously moreish, rustic cookies are based on traditional chunky oat biscuits, but mine are jam-packed with flavours and no two batches are alike – because I keep a Cowboy Cookie Jar. You know how it is – you buy a packet of nuts for a recipe, use about two-thirds of the contents and then stash the teeny leftover amount at the back of the cupboard until you find it a year later, quilted in dust and long past its use-by date. What you do is this: You keep a jar – ideally an airtight Kilner or tub – and every time you have small amounts of leftover nuts, chocolate chips, seeds and dried fruits – you chuck it in the jar. When you’ve got a nice amount in your jar, you have the perfect excuse to make Cowboy Cookies.
The name of these cookies came about for two reasons; firstly, due to the variable contents of the Cowboy Cookie Jar, it means I throw anything in, and hope for the best – as so-called ‘cowboy’ builders are known for doing. Secondly, we made up a story for our little girl about how every cowboy (or indeed cowgirl) needs a chunky cookie in their lunch box. The name needs no real explanation, sheriff. Just make ’em and enjoy. Yeehaa!
For the cookies:
140g butter, softened
100g demerara Sugar
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
120g plain flour
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp st
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g porridge oats (rolled oats)
200g mixed nuts / choc chips /dried fruits / seeds from your jar. (If weighing individual ingredients, aim for approximately 40-50g per item. For the cookies in the picture, I used: 50g each of milk chocolate chips, dried cranberries, sultanas and mixed chopped nuts.)
To make the cookies:
Prepare one or two large baking sheets (or shallow tins) by lining with baking paper.
Beat the softened butter and sugars together in a bowl until light and fluffy. I use my stand mixer with paddle attachment but you use a wooden spoon with a bit of effort.
Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until thoroughly mixed.
Add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon and mix to combine. Now slowly add the oats, and mix for minute or two.
Tip in your fruit/nut/chocolate. Mix quite slowly to avoid breaking it up too much, but make sure it is evenly dispersed.
Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out walnut-sized balls. Roll lightly between your palms to make smooth little balls and arrange on the prepared baking trays. Allow at least an inch around each ball as they will flatten and spread out a bit while baking.
Pop the trays of cookie balls in the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven to 180c / 350f /gas mark 4.
When the oven is pre-heated (after approximately 15 minutes), place the cookies in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes. They will look ever so slightly golden and they will still be very soft – do not worry! They firm up beautifully when they are cold. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes on the trays before attempting to move them. When completely cold, store in an airtight tub.