{recipe} Old-Fashioned Cowboy Cookies

My mom taught me many things in life, but one of the most important lessons I learned from her is that raisins in cookies is SO GROSS and you should never do it. I don’t hate raisins in every form, but man, do I hate them in a cookie. For some reason people always put raisins in oatmeal cookies, but not my mom. My mom puts chocolate chips in oatmeal cookies and calls them cowboy cookies. Because cowboys are tough and they know that raisins are for losers and chocolate is for winners.

When I was a kid, my mom made a lot of recipes out of our school’s PTA cookbook. (Argonne Elementary repraZENT!) It had a red cover with a line drawing of a schoolhouse (despite the fact that the actual school was formed entirely of portable classroom buildings, like a trailer park version of a school) and was bound with those flimsy black plastic spiral things. This is one of the recipes we made all the time and despite their catchy name, they are actually just oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips in them. Because the recipe is from the early 1980s, and because they are not “fancy” cookies, I have decided they are “old-fashioned.” Also, I have decided I am old since I went to elementary school in the 80s, but as luck would have it, I have a whole batch of fresh cookies on the counter so I can now go eat my feelings and wash them down with a cold glass of milk. Mmm. Feelings.

The original recipe called for “1 package chocolate chips” and I’m not sure if back in ye olden days of the 1980s, chocolate chip package sizes were smaller, or people enjoyed a much heavier ratio of chips to cookie dough than those of us in the modern era, because it is a ludicrous amount of chocolate chips for this much dough. I have amended the recipe to include what I feel is the correct amount of chips. But if you find yourself longing for the halcyon days of feathered hair, hot tubs, and cookie-induced diabetic comas then by all means add an entire bag of chocolate chips.

These cookies call for shortening, and I think using butter-flavored Crisco is the way to go. Before you go all acting like using Crisco is unhealthy, I should remind you that you are reading a recipe for cookies, not a recipe for kale and tofu salad or some such nonsense. But you can substitute all or half butter if you want. I think my mom  would be totally OK with that.

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Cowboy Cookies
makes about 50 cookies


  • 1 cup shortening (like Crisco) or butter (or 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oats (regular rolled – not steel cut or quick cooking)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or silpats.
  • Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat shortening and sugars until smooth and creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Add chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated.
  • Form small mounds of dough (about 1 1/2 Tbslp worth) on cookie sheets, leaving a little space for spreading. Bake 11-13 minutes, until just barely golden brown on the bottom. (If you bake them longer, they will not be chewy and soft.) Remove to wire rack to cool.

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5 Responses

  1. Barbara Berry says:

    Karen–Chocolate chips used to come in 6 oz. packages instead of the gigantic packages we see today.

  2. camille says:

    Moms are smart. Raisins are a great way to ruin a perfectly good cookie (or cinnamon bun, for that matter).

  1. October 5, 2012

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