Since 1992, Family Circle magazine has hosted what is basically a presidential bake-off – but in print. Every election cycle, the two potential First Ladies submit their best cookie recipe and readers vote on their favorite one. However, the 2016 bake-off was a little different in that the presidential candidates from the two major political parties were not two males. For the first time in the bake-off’s history, it wouldn’t be two potential First Ladies submitting their recipes since Hillary Clinton (a former First Lady herself) was running against Donald Trump. One would expect to see a cookie recipe from Bill Clinton, but instead 2016 saw Melania Trump’s Star Cookies go up against the Clinton Family Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Apparently, Bill must not be much of a baker.)
In fact, this is the third time this particular Clinton cookie recipe has appeared in the Family Circle First Lady Cookie Competition. The contest started in 1992, in response to an off-the-cuff comment that Hillary Clinton made to the press in defense of her career ambitions, “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.” In response, Family Circle held the first cookie bake-off and Hillary played along by entering this cookie recipe in ’92, and again in ’96, and again in 2016.
Interestingly enough, the cookie bake-off tends to accurately predict the outcome of the election, but this is one instance where it didn’t. In 2016, Trump won the Presidential election, but the Clinton cookies won the bake-off. The Clinton cookies also won in both the ’92 and ’96 First Lady Cookie Competition, but this time they were labeled as “the Clinton Family’s” rather than just “Hillary Clinton’s.”
While the Clinton cookies are a rich and chewy chocolate chip cookie stuffed with oats, Melania’s Star Cookies are a rolled butter cookie that’s enriched with a bit of sour cream and egg yolk. We made each recipe exactly as they were printed so we could see just how we thought they stacked up. And we must say that we definitely agree with the Family Circle results – The Clinton Family Chocolate Chip Cookie is the clear winner here! (You can see Melania’s recipe here.)
The Clinton recipe is a shortening-based chocolate chip cookie that adds in oats for a really satisfying chewiness. They’re soft and chocolatey with just-crisp-enough edges. Melania’s Star Cookies are easy to roll and cut, and the petite star shape is adorable… but the bottom line is that there are just better sugar cookie options out there. The Clinton cookie wins by a landslide here. See the Clinton recipe below and Melania’s cookie here.
Clinton Chocolate Chip Cookies
30 minutes to prepare 4 1/2 dozen
- 1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 350°. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
- Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.
- 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.
- 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.