Former First Lady Laura Bush’s famous recipe for cowboy cookies with a delicious twist: salted cereal brittle! These oatmeal cookies are also packed with cinnamon, chocolate chips and coconut. Saddle up for your new favorite cookie!
There are a handful of things I’ve committed to since my recent half-move to Texas: loving my boyfriend Will (which means lots of adventures on motorcycles), perfecting my kolache recipe (still in the works, the dough must be that of a literal pillow), apparently relearning how to drive a car (because DANG Houston, y’all are wild) and making my own version of a Cowboy Cookies.
The cowboy cookies come easy. They’re essentially a mash up of oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip cookies, with added sweetened coconut for chew and pecans (puh-cahns). They seem like a timeless classic though timeless most certainly has a timestamp with Laura Bush in the First Lady bake-off circa 2000. Can you imagine a current presidential election that involves a bake-off? Let’s not answer that.
A recent chat with my friend Deb about her latest cookbook Smitten Kitchen Keepers, in which she has the brilliance and audacity both to fold homemade salted walnut brittle into her chocolate chip cookies. It seemed only fitting to smash my new found commitment to cowboy cookies into my new found brittle inspiration and this cookie was born. Chewy and sweet with a hint of spice, a bitter bite from dark chocolate and a salty, crunchy brittle with pecans and corn flakes. These cookies are stacked… like Texas’ finest cowboys, amen.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these cowboy cookies:
• all-purpose flour
• baking soda, ground cinnamon, kosher salt
• unsalted butter
• quick cooking oats
• brown sugar and granulated sugar
• large eggs
• vanilla extract
• chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
• Cornflake cereal
• chopped pecans
• shredded coconut
• handheld electric mixer with a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer
• dried fruit; raisins or dried cranberries
First, let’s make the brittle. It needs to cool and set in the freezer while we make the cookie dough. Making brittle can feel a bit intimidating but let me frame it for you this way: we’re just melting plain ol’ granulated sugar to hot and brown.
Place a small saucepan of sugar over medium heat. I like to swirl the pan as the sugar starts to melt before stirring. Eventually I stir the mixture so the sugar is evenly melted and browned but overstirring can cause lumps. Honestly, most lumps can be worked out by smashing and stirring them out over the heat. Don’t stress it…. but also, melted sugar is screamin’ hot so don’t taste it or get it on your skin until it’s cool.
When the sugar is pleasingly browned, stir in nuts and Cornflakes.
Quickly spoon the golden brown, loaded brittle to a piece of greased parchment paper on a small sheet pan. If you don’t get the brittle super thin (it cools quickly) – that’s fine! It’ll just take a bit more smash when it’s time to break it up.
Allow the brittle to set in the freezer for 15 minutes or, if space doesn’t allow, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While the brittle sets, make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until evenly combined.
Can you use old-fashioned oats for these cowboy cookies?
You caaaaan, but it’s not my preference for this cookie. Quick oats are a much finer texture than old-fashioned oats. If using old-fashioned oats, will create a more dense and tall cookie.
Set the dry ingredients aside and cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Cream on low speed until fluffy before adding the eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Stir the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture until just barely combined. Add chocolate pieces and sweetened coconut to your heart’s content.
Break up the hardened brittle with the handle end of a spatula or use a large knife to carefully chop it into small chunks. Shower all of the bits and crumbles into the cookie dough.
Stir the brittle crumble as best you can to evenly combine, then scrape the cookie dough onto a piece of plastic wrap to chill in the refrigerator before baking.
Scooping the cookie dough with a small cookie scoop makes for the most evenly round cookies. Portion on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the upper rack of the oven.
I like sprinkling sea salt on top of the cookies before baking because that salty bit compliments the sweet brittle so well!
Look at this texture! The chewiness of the shredded coconut is matched by the toffee crunch of the brittle. This cowboy cookie recipe is a little extra but an absolute delight.
What do you think? Are you down for brittle in your cookies?Print
Cowboy Cookies with salted cereal brittle
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 11-13 minnutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: about 2 dozen cookies 1x
- Category: cookies, dessert
- Method: baking
Former first lady Laura Bush’s famous recipe for cowboy cookies with a delicious twist: salted cereal brittle! These oatmeal cookies are also stacked cinnamon, chocolate chips and coconut. Meet your new favorite cookie!
For the Brittle:
- 1 (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Cornflake cereal
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Flaky sea salt, for topping
For the Dough:
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) quick cooking oats
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6–8 ounces large chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli Grand Chips), reserving a few for topping
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- Flaky sea salt, for topping
- Line two baking sheets, one small baking sheet and another larger baking sheet, with parchment paper. Spray the small pan very lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set both pans aside.
- First we’ll make cereal brittle. Pour sugar into a medium skillet and place over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar begins to liquify, about 4 minutes. Swirl the pan, stirring sparingly, until all of the sugar melts into a caramel. Continue to cook the sugar until it is a deep brown (just about the color of copper). Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the cereal and chopped pecans.
- Carefully and quickly pour the hot brittle onto the small prepared pan. Quickly use a spatula to spread it flat though don’t worry if you can’t get it as flat as you’d like before it cools. We’ll break up the brittle after it cools completely no matter what. Place the brittle in the freezer for 15 minutes or refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Now let’s make the cookie dough!
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oats. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with electric hand beaters or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla extract on low speed.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed until almost fully combined. Leave a few flour streaks in the dough and add chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
- Remove the brittle from it’s cooling place and use a kitchen mallet or the bottom of a small pan to break the bite-size chunks. Stir into the batter.
- Scoop the dough into wax paper or plastic wrap, a thick disk is fine, and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour to allow the moisture to distribute through the dry ingredients and the butter to harden slightly. Alternately, you can portion the dough into 2 tablespoon cookie dough balls and refrigerate the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. The dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or well wrapped in the freezer for 1 month.
- Thirty minutes before baking, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Place 2 tablespoon dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press a few chocolate chips into each dough ball, and use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough into a thick disk and sprinkle with sea salt if you’re feeling it. Bake for 11-13 minutes until golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on a baking sheet for 10 minutes to set before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. You’ll of course eat one as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Store any cookies you don’t snack on or share in an airtight container at room temperature for as long as they last. They’re best within 5 days or so.
Keywords: cowboy cookies, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, cookie recipe,
I am making these as I type and got done with the brittle part, it tastes amazing but the brittle is very very hard, so I am wondering if adding a bit of baking soda next time would make this a little less hard on the teeth? Or would this change the texture in the cookie? And if I do add it, how much? I’m excited to finish these and eat them!
Brittle Instructions Mismatch –
Hi Joy! Are we making the brittle in a saucepan on medium (intro text; “Place a small saucepan of sugar over medium heat.”) or a skillet on med-high (instructions; “Pour sugar into a medium skillet and place over medium-high heat”)?
Thank you! Looking forward to making these asap!
At the top under “here are the ingredients you’ll need to make these cookies” it mentions raisins. But I don’t see them as an excuse fficual ingredient and they aren’t mentioned in the instructions. Are those just an optional add in?
Sorry that should say “official ingredients”
OMGGGGG…I read the caption before the recipe and instantly thought this sounds like Laura Bush’s cowboy cookie and Deb’s brittle cookie had a baby! Both are 2 of my FAVORITE cookies ever. Add this to the to be baked list this weekend!
This sounds absolutely delicious! I have to try this recipe.
It’s so fun to see Deb’s book tour popping up in all my favourite food blogger’s posts :-) Everyone wants to talk about how they met Deb and I like seeing those connections!
As for chilling the dough: in my attempts at a more sustainable way of house keeping I’ve completely banned plastic wrap from my kitchen. So, for chilling cookie dough I usually cover the bowl with a beeswax cloth, works great for a couple hours. If I want to chill dough over night or for longer I form a disc or rectangular shape that fits a lidded container. If I’m making slice n’bake cookies I wrap the dough logs in parchment paper and chill them in a lidded container. I’ve heard you can also use beeswax wrap for this but I haven’t tried this so far.
Wondering if I could use Rice Krispies for the cereal brittle? Thanks for the incredible recipes! I can’t wait to make these with my nephew.
fun cookie, a kind of mash up of every kind of cookie, nice since I don’t like oatmeal cookies by themselves, but with everything else and salted cereal brittle and coconut, and everything else! Have fun in Houston!
Ooooh! These look just perfect. I recently made some Special K cereal brittle and folded it into Cinnamon Almond Crunch Biscotti. Caramelized cereal makes everything taste better.
I definitely think I’m down for brittle in my cookies! I love Laura’s recipe and thought there could be no way to improve it but you did it! Yummm.
1 cup butter (2 sticks, 113g) should be 225g, right?
Also, I’ve found that pulsing old-fashioned oats briefly in a food processor can substitute for quick-cooking oats.
Be careful out there – apparently there are two types of motorcycle riders – those who have crashed and those who will. Love your recipes, suggestions, etc. Again, be safe.
Welcome to Houston! I’m a native and love my hometown, but driving is horrible here. Since the pandemic, people have gone crazy.
Oatmeal raisin cookies are a big favorite here. However this cowboys cookies with salt brittle look like a twist to an old favorite. I am eager to try it. Thank you for sharing it.
You’re in Texas now, which means there is a Central Market cooking school you can go to and take their Kolaches class. I learned to make kolaches there and they are great. Welcome to Texas!
Sounds great. For the brittle – measurement is missing. 1 CUP of sugar?
Joy the Baker
That’s right, Sue!