Today we’re changing things up a bit here in the Deep State, Super Secret Bakery. Instead of offering you one recipe, we’re doing a bake-off! Two cookies enter; one cookie leaves, victorious.
Since this is a news/politics site, I figured what would be a better bake-off than whipping up batches of First Lady cookies? (No, not cookies made of First Ladies, silly! Cookie recipes entered into Family Circle’s First Lady Cookie Contest.)
Now, you might think a cookie contest featuring recipes offered up by our nation’s potential First Ladies might’ve started back in the 1940s or 1950s, but you would be so, so wrong. In fact, this contest only dates back to the 1992 Presidential election, and was inspired by a Hillary Clinton gaffe.
Hillary was asked about her career, and this was her response:
“You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life. And I tried very, very hard to be as careful as possible, and that’s all that I can tell you.”
You can imagine the fallout after that, right?
Well, someone in Family Circle’s PR department thought this would be a great time to introduce a cookie contest. Go figure…
Anyway, here are each of the two 1992 entries, along with my notes on preparation, baking, and flavor/texture.
Barbara Bush’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1 (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt onto waxed paper. Set aside.
2. Beat together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in oats and chocolate pieces.
3. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake at 350 degree F for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
Note: The Deep State, Super Secret Bakery test kitchen recommends a baking time of 14-17 minutes, as they’re pretty pale and under-baked at 10 minutes. I also used the 1-1/2 Tbsp cookie scoop to make these cookies. Yield was about 3 dozen cookies using the cookie scoop.
Personally, for me, they’re kinda sweet and only okay. The main problems were due to the quick cooking oats (which make the cookies look like cheap granola bars) and the sweetness.
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Hillary Clinton’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 pkg (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. Beat together shortening, sugars and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, beating until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture and rolled oats. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop batter by well-rounded teaspoons onto greased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Cool cookies on sheets on a wire rack for 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Note: the Deep State, Super Secret Bakery test kitchen recommends a baking time of 12-14 minutes. I used a 2 tsp cookie scoop, which made cookies the same size as those in the recipe. Yield was 4-1/2 dozen
Vegetable shortening is never something I use in baking, so had to purchase some for this recipe. The benefit of using it (or margarine) is that cookies won’t spread as much as butter cookies. The con, though, is that the flavor is bland, compared to a butter cookie.
Overall, I thought the Clinton cookie was a bit better, just because of the fact that it’s slightly less sweet and the texture is better, due to the old fashioned oats.