I think we can all agree there is something magical about freshman year of college. The smell of tequila, red cups a’plenty, making out with that new classmate and then regretting it every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday when you see him in class. Dressing really nicely for the first week, then exclusively wearing the sweatpants you bought in the bookstore. You’re not lazy – you are expressing your school spirit – I get it.

I can definitely relate to the sweatpants portion of the above story (or of any story…) but perhaps the rest of my memories from freshman year were a little different. There wasn’t a Solo cup in sight.

My happiest memories were spent off campus with the family I used to “babysit” for. I say “babysit” because if we are being honest, both kids were taller than me and one of them taught me how to park a car.

When I failed miserably at making friends on campus – I always knew I had a house full of people that liked me down the street. When studying for finals became nearly impossible on account of my rude roommate, her out of state boyfriend and their need for….well… loud physical interactions… every time I cracked open a book, I knew I had a place I could go for peace and quiet. This family became my Chicago family, they gave me a home away from home, a safe haven, an escape.

Staying with them was a treat – a clean room, a comfy bed, a huge desk to spread my school work all over, friendly faces, home cooked meals.

Once when I was cramming for a test, Chicago mom brought me a cup of tea and two freshly baked Cowboy cookies. It was fitting that she made a Cowboy cookie because eating one is like a big warm coconut, oat, and chocolate-filled hug. Imagine a chocolate chip cookie’s more interesting brother. Just as lovely as the classic chocolate chip but with a few razzle dazzles.

She might not remember it or realize what it meant to me – but I was miserable at that school – and her warmth, her house, and those special little cookies made all the difference.

Here’s my recipe:


Ready? Be-be begin! Okay, mix your dry ingredients in a medium bowl.


Place both sugars and your room temp butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.


Cream ’em! Cream those bad boys until they are light and fluffy – say – 3 to 4 minutes.


Add your vanilla.


Add the dry  ingredient mixture and mix until just combined.


Add the coconut, chocolate chips, and oats! Mix to combine.


Eat at least a tablespoon of cookie dough – okay this step is not required – but highly recommended.


Using a 1/2 inch ice cream scoop place the dough onto sheet trays lined with parchment. Leave about 2 inches of space in-between each cookie. Place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.


I frickin’ love cookies. There are few things in life that give me greater joy than baking, eating, giving, receiving, anything-ing, cookies. So make a batch and let me know how you do!

Cowboy Cookies

  • Difficulty: easier than sleep
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2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats
2 cups of chocolate chips, I used semi-sweet
1/2 cup of shredded coconut


Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer cream the butter and two sugars. Add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix to combine.

Mix in oats, chocolate and coconut.

Place 1/2 inch mounds of cookie dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

Once the cookies are golden around the edges they are done and ready for devouring.

Go! Bake! Now! RUN!