Creating a Colorado Cookie – This One Gets Our Vote!

“Oh my gosh. These are the best cookies ever!” gushed my 19 year-old niece.  ”They’re really good, I wouldn’t changed anything,” advised my husband. My boys just ate them up. This was good.  It meant I was onto something delicious.

Having been invited by Better Homes and Gardens to submit a Colorado-themed cookie for their State Cookie Contest on Facebook (Vote now at this link through July 27th), I was trying to develop the quintessential Colorado cookie — a cookie both delicious and evocative of my home state. I was down to two original recipes, Colorado Columbine Cookies and Chocolate Mountain Cookies and I was trying them out on all available relatives: parents, children, spouse, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and nieces. Tough duty for them.

My nieces and their friend sample both cookies and find them fabulous!

My Criteria for A Colorado Cookie

Better Homes and Gardens has only one requirement for this contest: that we use one of their new baking sheets that they have created exclusively for Wal-Mart. There are no ingredient requirements or limitations, participants are simply asked to create a cookie with a state-based theme.

Colorado is a state with a strong recreational and outdoor culture. While we like to eat cookies, we love to ski, bike, hike, which means we don’t always have a lot of time to cook. I wanted to craft a cookie that would be special and delicious, but which wouldn’t be labor intensive or require a degree in patisserie to prepare.

I wanted to create a practical cookie. A cookie loaded with yummy treats, and hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest teenage boy after a day on the slopes or a couple of hours on a bike. I think I succeeded.

Colorado Columbine Cookies

Colorado Columbine Cookies

For my top cookie, I took inspiration from the blue and white petals of our state flower, the Columbine, utilizing dried blueberries, white chocolate and sliced almonds to add a touch of mountain color. In addition, I also wanted to represent the Eastern Plains and the Western Slope. The plains are highly agricultural, so I used oats. The Western Slope is a famous fruit-growing region, so I chose dried cherries. And then I added some semi-sweet chocolate chips, because hey, everything is better with a bit of chocolate.

Chocolate Mountain Cookies

Chocolate Mountain Cookies

My runner-up cookie has a lot more than just a bit of chocolate. It’s all about chocolate, baby. Loaded with white chocolate chips, walnuts and peanut butter chips, this cookie is delicious and rugged, with enough caffeine contained in the chocolate to fuel an epic day-long hike through our glorious mountains.

The Recipes

Colorado Columbine Cookies

Ingredient List:  2 softened sticks of butter; 3/4 cup dark brown sugar; 2 teaspoons vanilla; 2 large eggs at room temperature; 2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick); 1-1/2 cups white flour; 1 teaspoon baking powder; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 cup sliced almonds; 1/2 cup dried cherries; 1/2 cup dried blueberries; 1/2 cup white chocolate chips; 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well. Add oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until blended.
  2. Stir in the dried fruits, nuts and chips. You can do this on low-speed or with a wooden spoon.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoops of dough onto your baking sheet. Flatten the dough balls slightly. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies. Bake 17-20 minutes or until the edges begin turning golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let the cookies sit for two minutes on the sheet. Remove from sheet and cool on a cooling rack.
  4. Eat and Enjoy! Makes 24 large cookies.

Chocolate Mountain Cookies

Ingredient List: 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (you can use chocolate chips); 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; 6 tablespoons butter; 2/3 cup dark brown sugar; 1/3 cup granulated sugar; 3 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten; 2 teaspoons vanilla; 1 cup flour; 1 teaspoon baking powder; 1/8 teaspoon salt; 1-1/2 cup chopped walnuts; 2/3 cup white chocolate chips; 2/3 cup peanut butter chips.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt together the chocolates and the butter in a double boiler. Stir until melted and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and butter mixture and mix well.  Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Stir in walnuts and chips. You can do this on low-speed or with a wooden spoon.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, place scoops of dough onto your baking sheet. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies. Bake 12 minutes or until the cookies appear done. These cookies can also be tested with a toothpick. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for two minutes on the sheet. Remove from sheet and cool on a cooling rack. They are soft cookies, but will firm up when they cool.
  4. Eat and Enjoy! Makes 24 large cookies.

A Quick Word About the BHG Baking Sheet

If one Colorado Cookie is good, two are better….fantastic, even!

What can I say? Look at the cookies it turned out — it must be a good cookie sheet!  I have used stoneware baking pans for years, and I forgot how much more quickly a metal sheet bakes. The Better Homes and Gardens sheet is sturdy and “padded” with a raised imprint that allows heat to circulate under the cookies. It’s great.

Sturdy and well-designed, with silicone grips on the handles, it has a super-nonstick surface. When I first tried to use a wooden spatula to remove the cookies, they just kept sliding away. A plastic spatula worked better, but best of all was to let the cookies cool a bit and just lift them up. Nothing sticks! The pan barely needed cleaning. It’s also a good price and is available only at Wal-Mart.

Additional Contest Information

As I mentioned above, my Colorado cookies are competing against 49 other cookies, one entry per state. Voting takes place on the Better Homes and Gardens Facebook page through July 27th. The winner will receive a set of BHG bakeware and will give away a second set of bakeware in a blog-based giveaway.

I think these cookies are grand — delicious, hearty, indulgent and easy to make. I hope you agree. Vote for Colorado! And please, spread the word — post on FB, tweet, email your friends — I would really appreciate it. And then, come on over….I’ve got some cookies baking.


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