Monday, December 26, 2011

Cowboy Cookies

Wow, I disappeared for quite awhile there.  So sorry about that, I got sucked into the Christmas vortex, caught in a web of butter, sugar, and an all-stretchy-pants Christmas wardrobe and I forgot to post.

Well Jim, Cricket and I just spent our Christmas vacation with my new in-laws in Pennsylvania and I had a wonderful time.  This was officially my first Christmas spent away from home (Kansas City), but on our wedding day my dad told me that now my home is wherever Jim is, and that proved true.  Our vacation was busy and fun and relaxing.

You may think that since I've been on vacation I've taken a vacation from baking, and you'd be nearly correct.  I have the last cookies of December to tell you about.

This was Cricket's first extended experience of tons of people, children, and other dogs.  I was amazed at how well she did.  She absolutely loved Molly, the golden retriever/basset hound mix that looks approximately like a sawed-off Old Yeller, aka the most hilarious and cheerful little roly poly hot dog I've ever seen.  She also did really well with Jake, my sister in law's yellow lab who is about 4 or 5 times her size.  All in all, I take it as a sign that we need another dog, obviously.  I'm kidding (sort of).

Anyway, it was so nice experiencing my new husband's family atmosphere at Christmas time, but there was one tradition in my family that I couldn't have lived without.  Every year on Christmas Eve we watch "It's a Wonderful Life" before bed.  Not only is that my favorite Christmas movie, but I'm pretty sure it's my favorite movie in general.  It might be both my parent's favorite movie as well.  Let's just say it's great, and it's been the only DVD I've purchased in over a year.  If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it.

I made out like a bandit this year, and got a plethora of goodies for the kitchen.  I'll get to all that later.  For now, I need to post about these cookies before I run out of December!

Cowboy Cookies
(originally from Baked Explorations and this website)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, left out of the fridge about 15 minutes, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (about 12 oz)
3/4 cup thin salty pretzel sticks broken into very small pieces

3/4 cup diced walnuts

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk in oats.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, and both sugars until smooth and creamy.  Beat in egg and egg yolk until mixture looks light and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.  Add the coffee to 1/4 cup hot water, stir to dissolve.  Add coffee to mixture, it will look curdled but that's okay.  

Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating just until incorporated, then add the remaining dry ingredients, beating until incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chunks, 1/2 cup of the pretzels, and the walnuts.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll dough into about 2 Tbsp balls and form them into thick disks, pressing them into remaining pretzel crumbs so that some are exposed on top.  Place cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake about 11-13 minutes until golden brown at edges.  Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on sheet before removing to wire cooling racks.

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