Some cookies deserve to be big. Like really, really big. Giganamous, in fact. And if ever cookie deserved to be big, it’s cowboy cookies. I mean, it’s in the name after all. Cowboy Cookies. Doesn’t that name just conjure up wide open spaces and expansive skies? A small cowboy cookie is just wrong, it’s like an oxymoron. And since these particular cowboy cookies are gluten-free (and free of most added sugars), they especially deserve to be on the large side. Large, hearty cookies full of oatmeal, raisins, shredded coconut and chocolate chips, and made to tempt my young cowpokes from away from other cookies that are not likely to be quite so healthy. And made nut-free as well, so I could pack them into school lunches!
I am not really sure where the term cowboy cookies comes from, but it appears to refer to cookies that are jam-packed with yummy inclusions. In my experience, which granted has been limited to admiring the cowboy cookies my father always buys when we are up at our summer cottage, they seem to be a cross between oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip, with some coconut thrown in for good measure. But the first few recipes I looked at online contained nary a raisin, which surprised me. They did contain pecans, and I knew I had to forego the nuts if I wanted my recipe to be school-worthy. I decided that I would strike out on my own and replace the pecans with California Raisins, which my kids adore and which would add some natural sweetness to the cookies.
It’s tough, I will say, to find ways to get my kids more gluten-free for school lunches. My kids typically like my low carb, gluten-free creations, and I have become quite a whiz with almond flour and other nut flours, but I can’t send those to school. There’s coconut flour, but my kids don’t really like that as much when used in high quantities and I have to use it sparingly for kid-friendly recipes. So I stock up on things like gluten-free oat flour and Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour, and I find a combination of those two things works really well to win my kids over to gluten-free. It’s not low carb, but I am happy to know that it’s so much healthier than wheat-based flours, especially when I skip the sugar too.
And throwing in big handfuls of chocolate chips and California Raisins never hurts either! These were kid-approved in my household, before they even went into the oven. I had to fend three little creatures off the dough before it was even cooked!