By Carol Stark
JOPLIN, Mo. —
It wasn't Kris Pate's first rodeo. After all, the 49-year-old Joplin renal dietitian has been studying menus, ingredients and diets for 23 years. Pate specializes in the nutritional needs of people with chronic kidney disease.
But occasionally, she says, people need a treat. And when they indulge, Pate thinks it should be with real ingredients, not processed foods.
So, how did she change up the traditional cowboy cookie recipe? Well, she transformed it into a cowgirl.
"One of my patients told me about making cowboy cookies with butterscotch chips," said Pate. "I wondered what it would take to turn it into a cowgirl. Sugar and spice came to mind."
In 2011, Pate became a member of Just a Pinch Recipes (www.justapinch. com), a recipe and coupon social network for home cooks.
Anna Kate Tefft Ross, a public relations spokeswoman for Just a Pinch, said Pate's cookie recipe, which she has submitted to the website, was named a blue ribbon winner by Just a Pinch Food Editor Janet Tharpe.
Ross said the social media site has 600,000 members worldwide. Pate is one of more than 250 Joplin residents sharing recipes on the site.
"We continually add new features to the club based on the feedback of our members," Tharpe said. "It's because of people like Kris, who are proud to share her family's favorite recipes with other home cooks, that the club has become so popular."
Pate has two sons, John, 22, with the U.S. Air Force, and Mark, a sophomore at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and a 14-year-old daughter, Harley. Pate recently moved from Joplin to Carthage.
"The website and contests are fun," Pate said. "It's something that kind of reminds you of your childhood, with people sharing great recipes."
Pate has shared her award-winning cookie recipe with Globe readers.
Blend in a large bowl:
2 cups oleo, softened
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
Sift together, then add to sugar mixture:
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Stir or knead if the cookie dough becomes too stiff adding:
2 cups quick oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup coconut, flaked
1 cup English walnuts
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
Form the dough into balls a little larger than a golf ball. Place balls on an ungreased cooking stone. Place 2 chocolate chips for eyes and a butterscotch chip for a nose. Press down lightly with the heel of your palm to flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Move cookies from the stone to a cooling rack. Let cool for a few minutes so cookies hold thoroughly. The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and baked as need. Allow the dough to warm up for 30 minutes before attempting to form balls.
Coconut can be omitted and dried fruit, such as raisins or chopped prunes, can be used.
Do not use dried cranberries because it interferes with the butterscotch, cinnamon and nutmeg combo that gives this cookie its distinct flavor.