When my family lived in Austin many years ago, I discovered a recipe in the Austin-American Statesman (Austin’s local newspaper) for Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cookies. The story behind the recipe is that in 2000, Family Circle Magazine held a cookie cook-off between the two Presidential Candidate’s wives, Laura Bush and Tipper Gore. Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cookies faced off against Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snaps and guess what, Laura Bush’s cookies won. Seriously not a surprise to me considering all the wonderful ingredients in these gigantic cookies.
Mrs. Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cookies are incredibly moist. In every bite, you’ll find a delightful taste of rich, creamy chocolate, crunchy nuts and sweet, subtle flakes of coconut. They’re perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The perfect cookie in my book.
Moving from Louisiana to Texas, I wanted to bake something that I could send back home to family and friends. I wanted to make something that would give them a little taste of Texas and these cookies have become my signature dessert.
I make these Texas sized cookies all the time for parties and they’re always a huge hit. They pack well so I often send them off to my college kids in their (almost) monthly care packages and I try to make them often, although not as often as my family would like just to keep in our cookie jar. I’ve even altered the recipe to include dried cranberries and white chocolate and sent those cookies off to three bloggers I’d never even met for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
In the original recipe, also referred to as Cowboy Cookies, these delicious treats combine semisweet chocolate chips, old fashioned rolled oats, chopped pecans and coconut flakes. In my opinion, a great combination. And might I suggest, if someone in your family doesn’t like coconut flakes, consider adding it anyway. I have two kids who are not particularly fond of coconut but both agree that they love the flavor it brings to the cookies. The coconut taste is subtle yet it adds a wonderful flavor.
The recipe is easily adaptable to what’s in your pantry. Mix up the nuts or use a different chocolate. Maybe semi sweet chocolate and hazelnuts or milk chocolate and peanuts. Experiment and have fun. I’ve made all variations and hands down, these cookies are the best. In the most recent version, I made them with dark chocolate, walnuts and coconut. HUGE HIT!
Please understand that these cookies are gigantic. When I make them, I make some of the cookies “Texas-sized” and make the rest smaller by spooning less cookie dough onto the baking sheet. Just make sure you don’t bake the smaller cookies in the oven for as long as you bake the bigger ones because the smaller cookies will cook faster. If baking smaller cookies, I’d recommend decreasing the baking time to 8-10 minutes.
The original recipe is certainly a keeper and you can find it HERE. My family can’t believe I haven’t written about this recipe before now. I still refer to the yellowed newspaper clipping with dried cookie batter covering many of the words. Now that the recipe on the blog, I can toss the clipping and refer to here and also come back to this new Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cookie addition.
Give it a try and let me know what combinations you come up with…
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