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School’s Out For Summer! - Cowboy Pokies

Schoolhouse Fun 2024

Cowboy Pokies

I’ve been scouting out this recipe for years.  This summer, I decided it was time for me to finally lasso it!  I’ve not only roped it, but gentled it into a very fine, late afternoon treat.  The French call such a snack, or light meal, un casse-croûte.  I call it Cowboy Pokies.

The first time that I encountered the Pokey Cookie was in the late 1990s.  Dear Daughter was in the first grade.  I brought into her classroom two dozen Pokey Cookies from the local supermarket.  My volunteer task that afternoon was to assist with Math, a subject that’s really Arithmetic because, honestly speaking, I ask:


How can a 6-year-old perform algebraic functions, which is what mathematics truly encompasses?

The teacher was a nice guy, a retired commercial airline pilot who had subsequently gone into the profession of teaching at a public grammar school.   He’d not yet given up, or even begun to loosen, his controlling hold on the steering wheel and levers of how things, and people, operate.   He thus believed that he could entice the little tykes to warm up to learning fractions, dividing and multiplying numbers, by using my Pokies as his Manipulatives!


The pathetic cookies got broken into sets of 2, 4, 8, — at which point they crumbled into cookie dust!  The children were rather pokey in their approach to this teaching method.


They most certainly learned how the cookie crumbles!

This teaching method had been chosen by this government-school teacher because of The Standards forced upon him.  The Standards were, and are, the tyranny-of-the-numbers foisted on the newest generation of guinea pigs in the public classroom by the educrats and by the Kiddies under The Dome, aka politicians.


The Golden State was pompously leading the way on this one:  promulgating the Highest Educational Standards in the nation, and producing the lowest test scores — with the highest Self-Esteem!


That cookie dust was the canary in the classroom-gold mine of the State Teachers Blob shoving regulations and subjects at their lab-rat students, taxpayer-funded rules and topics that were/are “inappropriate”, indecent, irrelevant, ill-timed, and, uh, ill.


And the sugar high of sick school curriculum bankrolled by citizens had only just begun!

The corporate supermarket Pokies were also too sugary, and quite greasy. Their disintegration during yet another failed-educational experiment was apt, even predictable.  I forgot about those cookies for a while, until the 2010s when I next encountered the Pokey at the CO-OP Market in Davis, California.


The Coop, as I call it, is located adjacent to the campus of UCD, the University of California at Davis, where Dear Daughter had earned an academic scholarship.  I bought a package of what the Coop label stated was Cowboy Pokies.  It’s a moniker that I found funny, and still do, because the entire UC-Davis locale resembles an agricultural wasteland with nary a cowboy in sight!


The Occupiers were there, but no sign of any Spirit of the West!

I never did see those cookies sold again at that store.  I nonetheless persisted in my quest to one day re-formulate the delicious and healthful goodness of a California campus culinary confection that yielded positive commercial (capitalist) results!


One morning during this past May, I searched online for a Basic Cookie Dough Recipe.  Going to the search engine is always a bold activity for me, one that brings click-bait where’er I go.  On the Brave browser, I spotted, at the very top of the screen, the front-load screen-gimme that looked fairly good.


And I believed this info was not a Sponsored Ad!


It was, however, an AI-generated answer.  Which might be sponsored by Someone, or Something.  I don’t know.  I did not click on the Learn More prompt.  I prompted myself to learn less, which is a wise choice while navigating computer-ville.


I, the human, intelligently adjusted the amounts and altered some of the ingredients.  I worked in my Test Kitchen to perfect the sweet treat.  I got it right the first try!!


The following is my version of this cookie:


Cowboy Pokies

1/2 cup (1 stick butter), room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup spelt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup hand-chopped whole almonds (with skins)

1 cup dark chocolate M&Ms (I pick out the blue ones because I do not eat any food that’s been dyed blue.)


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and extracts till combined.


In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Gradually add the dry ingredients. to the wet ingredients.  Mix until a dough forms.


Add the chopped almonds until they’re incorporated into the dough.  Then stir in the M&Ms and — very gradually — blend them into the dough.  I went too quickly with my stand mixer which resulted in a shotgun/street-sweeper effect!

Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


Scoop the dough into balls, about 1 tbsp. each.  Place balls onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. This batch makes about 20 cookies.


Bake for 10-12 minutes, or till the edges are lightly golden.


Remove from oven; let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


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