The Neelys’ Most Valuable Player this Holiday: Pat’s Quarterback Cookies

The holidays are all about forgiveness. As we turn the page on a new year, it’s time to forget about old grievances and failed resolutions. Remember when you resolved to cut down on your sugar intake this year? Why not try again in 2012? Until then, the Neelys are aiding and abetting my mission to create the maximalist holiday cookie. It’s called the “quarterback cookie.”


–       2 cups all-purpose flour
–       ½ teaspoon baking soda
–       ¾ teaspoon baking salt
–       1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
–       1 cup granulated white sugar
–       ¾ cup packed dark-brown sugar
–       2 eggs
–       1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
–       1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
–       1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
–       ¾ cup toffee-candy bits (I couldn’t find any, so I substituted butterscotch chips)
–       ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted


Butterscotch chips

Toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and adjust the racks to the middle. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisked dry ingredients

In a standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, making sure everything is evenly mixed together.

Mixed wet ingredients

Add the dry ingredients, and mix well until blended. At this point, the cookie dough tastes delicious, so go ahead and treat yourself to a few finger dabs.

Wet and dry ingredients

Turn off the mixer, and stir in the chocolate chips, coconut, toffee, and pecans by hand. This is where the arm muscles come in—or not, in my case, leaving me with some seriously heterogeneous dough.


Drop the cookie dough, in tablespoon batches, onto prepared sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies. Seriously, leave some space. I got a little stingy with the between-the-dough-balls space, and out of the oven came a cookie pizza.

Dough balls

Bake cookies until golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove, and let cool completely on the cookie sheets.

Pile of cookies

Cookie shards

Recipe excerpted from The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook by Pat and Gina Neely. Copyright 2011 by Patrick Neely and Gina Neely. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.