My family recently got together to clean out my Dad's basement. It was quite a big job, so it was all hands on deck! And of course, if you know my family, you know there was a huge spread of food. As my Mom would say, "Feed the workers and you'll get the job done." Even though I wasn't able to lend a hand to the effort, I was still sure to contribute some baked goodies. When I asked my sister, Cathy, what I should bake, she said that "a little picky uppy thing' would be great. (I think that's a technical term, btw) At first I was gonna just do a simple brownie, but I decided to try something new instead. As I often do, I surveyed the contents of my pantry to see what sort of ingredients I had to work with, and then found a recipe to go with it. And this is the result! From what I hear, they were a big hit, especially with my niece, Kelli. Glad you liked them, Kel!
Oh, and if you're wondering why they're called Cowboy Squares....
This is a "baked in a pan" version of Cowboy Cookies, which are chocolate and oatmeal, and sometimes have chopped nuts and coconut, and even raisins. I'm not sure what they have to do with Cowboys other than the fact that a hard-working Cowboy might like something that is a little heartier for a snack. Makes sense, right? We'll go with it. And can I just tell you how heavenly they smell while they're baking? It's all about the cinnamon! Actually, you don't usually see cinnamon as one of the ingredients, but for me, cinnamon and oatmeal go hand in hand, so why not??? They're the perfect snack to have "long about noon, when your appetite's pokin' at ya... pokin' at ya..." LOL
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 350F.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, mix butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture and blend. Stir in oatmeal (and nuts and/or coconut, if using). Place dough in fridge for about 1/2 hour, just so it firms up a little.*
Press half of dough into greased and floured 13x9x2 inch pan.
Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Crumble remaining dough over the chips. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tsp cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let it cool slightly, but not necessarily completely before cutting into squares. Serve them when they're still slightly warm with an ice cold glass of milk. YUM!
*The recipe says to chill the dough before pressing it into the pan, but you really don't have to. It just makes it a little easier to work with, that's all. If you're pressed for time, just skip that step, and moisten your impeccably clean hands with a little water. Or spray your hands with a little vegetable oil spray. It'll keep the dough from sticking to your hands while you work.
-I left out the pecans and the coconut, just because I was making them for my family, and I know there are some who don't like them. But normally I would DEFINITELY have added them. Just sayin!
-I was a little heavy handed when I was measuring the brown sugar, just because it makes them so nice and chewy. It's one of those little things I do that makes people say "how come it always tastes better when YOU make it?" hee hee