Don’t get hung up on their lousy name; cowboy cookies are actually really delicious. I brought three dozen of these giant cookies on a flight to Iowa once, and my two brothers devoured every last one in six hours flat. Another time I brought them on a three hour road trip to Portland, Maine, and they were gone before the six of us climbed out of the van. They routinely get gobbled up so quickly that I haven’t ever actually managed to snap a picture of the finished product and was forced to bake another batch this weekend to photograph for you all. How I suffer for my art!

Though it seems these everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies might be commonplace in the South, I had never even heard of them until I moved to Philly, when I reached into the refrigerator of my food co-op around picked up a heavy cookie the size of my hand. “Cowboy Cookie,” I read. Huh.

That particular cookie came from Vegan Treats, an awesome vegan bakery that has long been supplying scrumptious goodies — s’mores cheesecake, brownies piled high with peanut butter frosting, and cookies ‘n’ cream-filled donuts — to grocery stores and restaurants in the Philaldelphia area. So it was no surprise that my heart fluttered the moment I sank my teeth into their rendition of the cowboy cookie. Butter and cinnamon imparted a warm aroma, and oats and coconut made them soft and chewy. And then there were the nuts and chocolate chips!

I now live regrettably far from anywhere Vegan Treats’ goods are stocked, but cowboy cookies have long since become a permanent addition to my cookie repertoire. And the particular recipe I adapted has a pretty hilarious backstory. You know how the presidential nominees’ wives have a bake-off before every election to name the better baker? (Okay, so maybe you don’t, but trust me on this one; I read it on the Internet. Aren’t gender roles quaint?) Way back in 2000, Laura Bush submitted her recipe for “Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies” — the very one I have altered to share with you! — to that very bake-off. She won, and the rest, as they say, is history.


5.0 from 8 reviews
Cowboy Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen giant cookies
  • 2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1½ c vegan butter
  • 1½ c granulated sugar
  • 1½ c light brown sugar
  • ½ c applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c chocolate chips
  • 3 c rolled oats
  • 2 c chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Measure coconut into a small bowl and stir in 1 tbsp warm water and 2 tbsp sugar; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whip the butter.
  4. Add sugars and cream.
  5. Add applesauce and vanilla and beat.
  6. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, powder, soda, and spices.
  7. Add to wet ingredients and beat until well mixed.
  8. Fold in the coconut, nuts, oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  9. Use an ice-cream scoop to scoop balls of dough for jumbo cookies, and flatten slightly.
  10. Bake on greased sheets for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.