The Untold Truth Of Cowboy Cookies

Few things are more gratifying than cozying up to a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. There's the initial snap as your teeth meet the crisp, caramelized exterior, followed by the tender-sweet sensation of the cookie's soft center. If you're lucky enough to sample the cookie while it's still warm, melty chocolate chips make the experience that much better.

According to Martha Stewart, there's a discrepancy between which is better — soft and chewy or thin and crisp — but we can all agree that a chocolate chip cookie is welcome anytime. And when it comes to the cowboy cookie, it doesn't matter which style you prefer — chewy or crisp — the sweet treat delivers both in the most magical way.

According to The Bread Monk, cowboy cookies are simply big chocolate chip cookies, beefed up with old-fashioned rolled oats and made with shortening instead of butter or margarine. The recipe has changed over the years, and now the massive gems boast a dreamy blend of coconut, oats, pecans, and chocolate (via Huffington Post). It's like if a chocolate chip cookie, oatmeal cookie, and magic cookie bar had a baby.

Why are they called cowboy cookies?

According to Civil War Talk, the cowboy cookie is considered the first power bar of the plains. The nutritious snack kept well and provided energy for long days in the Old West. Nobody knows for sure if that's where the cookie got its name, but one thing is certain: We were enamored with cowboys when the cookies got their start.

The Museum of Western Film History asserts that our love of cowboys began during the 1930's, when the Lone Ranger was the star of the radio and a popular character in novels and comic strips. In the early 1950s, the beloved ranger was featured in movies and TV shows. Cowboy costumes were a popular Halloween pick during the '50s (via The Daily Meal). Kids wanted to dress like cowboys, act like cowboys, and eat like cowboys (via The Bread Monk).

Let's jump to the year 2000, when Laura Bush debuted her "Texas Governor's House Cowboy Cookies" in the Family Circle magazine First Lady bake-off (via Southern Living). Mrs. Bush's cookies — brimming with chocolate, oats, pecans, and coconut — easily won the competition, beating out Tipper Gore's ginger snaps. Perhaps it was the addition of cinnamon that put her cookies over the top.

Folks in Wyoming are just as enthusiastic about cowboy cookies, as demonstrated in this cinnamon-free recipe from Taste of Home. Regardless of the origin of the name, cowboy cookies check all the boxes when it comes to the perfect cookie.