We Tried Laura Bush’s Winning Cowboy Cookies

After writing about some of our most memorable First Ladies’ Favorite Foods, I noticed Laura Bush was by far the most popular FLOTUS. Her cowboy cookie was the top-viewed recipe in the whole collection. Why? I had to try her cookies myself to see what the big deal was all about.

Every election year since 1992, Family Circle magazine runs a Presidential Cookie Bake-Off. The two potential first ladies submit a cookie recipe, and the public votes on their favorite. In 2000, Laura Bush submitted her Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies; turns out, readers preferred them to Tipper Gore’s Ginger Snaps.

Out of all the cookies in the history of the contest, Mrs. Bush’s have circulated the most. When you google “Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies,” you’ll see that a ton of bloggers have tried her recipe and have dedicated entire blog posts to this cookie. I joined in on the fun, and this is how it went…

Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies

Ingredients for Cowboy Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened flake coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Editor’s Note: At first glance, I could tell this was going to be a hefty cookie. First of all, it calls for 3 sticks of butter. Three! Second of all, there’s a total of 10 cups of mix-ins—chocolate chips, oats, coconut flakes and pecans. Holy smokes! I better go work with a cowboy for a day before eating one of these big guys. Good thing I have a hungry husband who loves my baking.


Step 1: Prep the ingredients

First things first, I got the butter out of the fridge so it had enough time to soften. This is a very important step, so don’t skip it! Here’s how to soften butter quickly.

While the butter softened, I prepped all of my ingredients. This is called mise en place, and I highly recommend doing it. It’s more work upfront, but then it’s smooth sailing. I mixed the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Instead of using measuring cups, I measured by weight. This gives a more accurate measure of the ingredients. Here’s a handy conversion chart that I printed out and stuck on my fridge.

Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar

Once the butter was softened, I beat it for one minute. Then, I added the sugars, and beat for another two minutes. Next, I added the eggs, beating after each one, and then the vanilla.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients and mix-ins

Once the wet ingredients were mixed, I gradually added the flour mixture. Finally, I mixed in the goodies—chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

Step 4: Bake

Cowboy Cookies dough on a cookie sheetTaste of Home

At this point, the upcoming task was a little daunting. There was a mound of dough in the bowl and each batch bakes for 17-20 minutes at 350ºF. That’s a lot longer than the standard 10-12 minutes! Plus, these are oversized cookies (1/4 cup of dough per cookie), so I could only bake 4 cookies on a pan.

How Did These Cookies Turn Out?

Thank you, Mrs. Bush! I give these cookies a 10/10. I thought 10 cups was a lot of mix-ins, but it turned out to be the perfect amount. The cookies were humongous (because everything’s bigger in Texas, right?), and each bite had a little bit of everything. The crisp edges melted in your mouth, and the coconut and chocolate flavors paired well with the crunch of the pecans.

As one of my co-workers who’s a self-proclaimed cookie critic said, “I have high standards for cookies, and I loved these!” The votes are in: Our staff loved Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies!

Turns out the love of food and cooking runs in the Bush family. Check out Barbara Bush’s favorite foods.

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Emily Racette Parulski
Emily has spent the last decade writing and editing food and lifestyle content. As a senior editor at Taste of Home, she leads the newsletter team sharing delicious recipes and helpful cooking tips to more than 2 million loyal email subscribers. Since joining TMB seven years ago as an associate editor, she has worked on special interest publications, launched TMB’s first cross-branded newsletter, supported the launch of the brand's affiliate strategy, orchestrated holiday countdowns, participated in taste tests and was selected for a task force to enhance the Taste of Home community. Emily was first mentioned by name in Taste of Home magazine in 1994, when her mother won a contest. When she’s not editing, Emily can be found in her kitchen baking something sweet, taking a wine class with her husband, or making lasagnas for neighbors through Lasagna Love.