Barbara Bush Cookies

November 6:Election Day 2018

We have been making cookies for Election Day events for some time now, using the presidential bake-off recipes from “Family Circle” magazine. These chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, submitted by former FLOTUS Barbara Bush, were among the first to be included in the publication’s inaugural cookie contest back in 1992. Although her recipe “lost” and her husband, George H.W. Bush, did not get re-elected, according to the magazine’s mythical prediction, Barbara Bush’s cookies have remained popular ever since the Houstonian Hotel asked her permission to put them on the Olivette restaurant’s menu.

On April 17, 2018, Barbara Bush passed away. As a respectful tribute to the late First Lady, we baked a batch of her cookies, which are also suitable to serve at social gatherings during the midterm elections.

Recipe

Adapted from the Houstonian Hotel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 6 ounces (half a bag) of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a bowl, sift together the flour, slat and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the white and brown sugar. Beat in the egg. Gradually add the flour mixture and blend well.

Stir in the vanilla. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonsful onto a lightly greased cookie sheet about two-inches apart to allow for spreading.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until the middle of the cookies have set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen.

Notes

  • We photographed our final food photo with a red rose, white pearls and a blue background for a patriotic color palette. Barbara Bush’s favorite color was blue and she was famous for her fashionable accessory (pearls) so we placed a strand of Islander’s beads around the cookies in the late First Lady’s honor.
  • We visited the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, where Barbara Bush is laid to eternal rest.
  • Try our other Election Day cookie recipes from the presidential bake-off (2012 and 2016). These include both the political parties’ candidates’ Democrat and Republic recipes.
  • Search our blog for other recipes for Election Day (see the Patriotic listing under Theme Menus).

Election 2016 Cookies

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November 8: Election Day 2016

After several months of crazy campaigning, Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency. But Hillary Clinton’s cookie recipe won by a landslide—for the third time since Family Circle magazine began its election bake-off in 1992.

A few months before Election Day, the magazine prints the favorite cookie recipes shared by spouses of the candidates (back then, Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, ran for president). Then the readers vote on which cookie they prefer best. The winning recipe supposedly is a predictor of who becomes the next president.

Since its inaugural year, Family Circle’s track record was accurate. But in 2008, Cindy McCain’s cookie recipe won over Michelle Obama’s (but Barack Obama won the presidency). In 2012, Michelle’s new cookie recipe won over that of Ann Romney, and Barack went on to serve his second term. This year, Bill Clinton re-used his wife’s cookie recipe, which won over Melania Trump’s. But Donald was voted as president.

We baked both the Clinton family cookie recipe and Melania’s cookie recipe for Islander’s brother’s student ministry again this year (our third time during a presidential election). It was a fun food activity for everyone, regardless of age, nationality, race, party affiliation, etc. Despite differences of opinions, this cookie election has brought everyone together. God bless America!

Recipes

(Adapted from Family Circle)

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For the Clinton Family’s Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not the quick-cooking oats)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) chocolate chips

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the vegetable shortening with the brown and white sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs.

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Add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture and the rolled oats, alternating ingredients during the mix-in. Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Scoop a tablespoon onto greased baking sheets 2-3 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 4-5 dozen cookies.

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For Melania Trump’s Star-Shaped Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (we used European-style butter because of Melania Trump’s Slovenian heritage)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the flour with the baking soda. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the whole egg and egg yolk.

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Mix in the sour cream. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until cookie dough is formed. Roll into a large ball. Then divide dough into two balls.

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Flatten into a disk between two sheets of lightly-floured waxed paper. Roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line baking sheets with waxed paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Peel away the waxed paper. Use a 2 ½ – inch star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes, re-rolling the dough scraps as necessary. Place star cookies about 1-2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Refrigerate the whole sheet for another 10 minutes or until the dough firms up again so when the cookies bake, the shape is retained.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen cookies.

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Notes

 

Election 2012 Cookies

Election 2012 Cookies

November 6: Election Day 2012

Vote for a candidate—and a cookie!

During a U.S. presidential election year, we bake cookies from recipes provided by presidential candidates’ spouses (in 2012, we made Michelle Obama’s and Ann Romney’s cookies, wives of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, respectively). We take the treats to a college student prayer group event where Islander’s brother ministers. Everyone has an opportunity to blind taste-test both cookies and vote for their favorite! Some of the freshmen were able to vote for the first time in their lives on Election Day. Others who could/did not vote for the candidates were still able to cast their ballots for cookies at the polling theme party. (Click here to see the results.)

Election 2012 Cookies

We were inspired to celebrate America’s freedom and right to vote on Election Day with this fun food event, after learning that Family Circle magazine has sponsored a presidential cookie bake-off since 1992. The magazine prints the favorite cookie recipe shared by spouses of the candidates, then the readers vote on the best cookie. The winning recipe supposedly is a predictor of who becomes the next president. With the exception of the 2008 elections, when Cindy McCain’s cookie recipe won over Michelle Obama’s, the bake-off seems to have a good track record so far.

Without overanalyzing the recipes for any unintentional or purposeful political meanings, voting for cookies is a delicious and unique way to observe Election Day.

Recipes

(Adapted from Family Circle)

Election 2012 Cookies

For Michelle Obama’s Cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 stick butter-flavored vegetable shortening (we used Crisco brand)
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cups mint chocolate chips (we used Andes mint pieces)
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with the white and brown sugars until smooth.

Election 2012 Cookies

Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and blend well.

Election 2012 Cookies

Use a spatula to hand-stir in the white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and mint chocolate chip pieces and walnuts. Mix until well combined. Use a small scoop to drop the cookie dough onto an ungreased foil-lined baking sheet.

Election 2012 Cookies

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 6 – 6 ½ dozen.

Election 2012 Cookies


Election 2012 Cookies

For Ann Romney’s Cookies

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ cups (nearly a full 18-ounce jar) crunchy peanut butter (we used Jif brand extra crunchy)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ½ cups oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cup M&Ms (we used red, white and blue M&Ms)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the white and brown sugars. Add the peanut butter and corn syrup and blend until smooth. Beat in the eggs.

Election 2012 Cookies

Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the oats and baking soda. Gradually add to the peanut butter mixture. Use a spatula to hand-stir in the chocolate chips.

Election 2012 Cookies

Gently add the M&Ms and mix until well combined. Use a small scoop to drop the cookie dough onto a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and slightly flattened but still round. Remove from the oven. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 6 dozen.

Election 2012 Cookies

Notes

  • Family Circle magazine readers voted on the winning cookie a few months before Election Day: Michelle Obama’s cookies (which meant her husband was destined to win his second term as president). Her recipe is actually from Mama Kaye, the godmother of her daughters.
  • For an archive of recipes in past presidential cookie bake-offs, go to the magazine’s website.