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 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.

Senate Bean Soup

Senate Bean Soup

November: U.S. Election Day (Tuesday after the first Monday in November)

We have visited the Capitol during some of our trips to Washington, D.C. With its  iconic rotunda, the building houses our elected officials (representatives and senators). At the congressional cafeteria, Senate Bean Soup is served every day, ironically reminding us of the low-budget stews we ate as children of modest income families. Fortified with navy beans and flavored with smoked ham hocks, the recipe for Senate Bean Soup comprises only a few ingredients but it feeds many people (this is an excellent example of “edible economics”—if only the government can balance the budget better by spending less instead of more)!

Senate Bean Soup

Make a difference with your vote and go out and cast your ballot at your local/state/national polling place. Also make Senate Bean Soup as a way to observe Election Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from the United States Senate)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds dried navy beans
  • 4 quarts hot water
  • 1 ½ pounds smoked ham hocks
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Wash the navy beans in hot water (cold water will crack them) until slightly white. Place them in a large pot and cover with 4 quarts hot water. Put the ham hocks on top of the beans. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for at least three hours or until the ham hocks are tender. Stir occasionally.

Senate Bean Soup

Remove the ham hocks from the pot and set aside to cool slightly. Dice the meat and return to the pot. Mix well with the cooked beans. In a small pan, saute the onions in butter until lightly browned. Add to the pot. Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Senate Bean Soup

Notes

  • It is a privilege as well as a right to vote! Do your American duty and vote while we have the freedom in our country to do so.
  • Search our blog for other patriotic posts and recipes suitable for celebrating American holidays and events, such as Election Day.