Monday, February 15, 2021

FIRST LADIES BAKE-OFF RECIPES: Presidents Day

Today is Presidents' Day. It's not any 'real' president's birthday. When I was growing up we celebrated both Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday on two separate days. That also meant two days off from school, not just one. Times have changed. For this year's Presidents Day, I'm featuring recipes by the women behind the men. Sadly not a man behind the woman, although there's a family recipe for the 2016 Cookie Bake-Off. See below). Here are several Chocolate Recipes from first ladies. The recipes are found in individual Presidential Archives, as well as newspapers, magazines (Family Circle) and individual cookbooks. Make any of these great recipes and celebrate Presidents Day.

From Mamie Eisenhower (Dwight D. Eisenhower) 
Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge 
**This recipe makes 4 pounds of Fudge**

Ingredients
4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp butter

1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nutmeats

Directions
Boil sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk together for six minutes.
Put chocolate bits and German chocolate, marshmallow cream, and nutmeats in bowl.
Pour boiling syrup over ingredients.
Beat until chocolate is all melted, then pour into pan.
Let stand a few hours before cutting.
Remember it is better the second day. Store in tin box.

From Betty Ford (Gerald Ford)
Betty Ford's Chocolate Icebox Dessert

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 Angel food cake
12 oz chocolate chips
4 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp water
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Line flat 9x9″ cake pan with wax paper.
Slice angel food cake and place a layer of cake in pan. (Slices easier if frozen). Separate eggs, beat yolks.
Melt chocolate in double boiler over water.
When melted, add sugar and water. Mix well. Make sure sugar melts.
Remove from heat and stir gradually into beaten egg yolks. Beat until smooth. Cool this mixture. Add vanilla and salt. Mix well.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Whip the cream.
Fold egg whites into chocolate mix, then the whipped cream.
Place a layer of chocolate on the angel food slices, than another layer of cake, then a layer of chocolate.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
This can be frozen and used later. Be sure to chill overnight before freezing.

From Lady Bird Johnson (LBJ) 
Lady Bird’s Chocolate Nut Drop Cookies



From Hillary Clinton (Bill Clinton)
Hillary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
Vegetable oil, for baking sheets
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
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 package (12-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets with vegetable oil.
Combine flour, salt, and baking soda on waxed paper.
Beat together shortening, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer 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 teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden.

***
From Michelle Obama (Barak Obama)
Mama Kaye’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 5 dozen cookies Prep: 15 minutes 

Bake at 375° for 12 minutes per batch

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 stick Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup each white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips (or Andes mint pieces)
2 cups chopped walnuts

Directions
Heat oven to 375°.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. In large bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
On low speed, beat in flour mixture. By hand, stir in white and milk chocolate chips, mint chips and walnuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto un-greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

***
Starting in 1992, Family Circle Magazine has orchestrated a political bake-off during every presidential election year. It was already commonplace for presidential candidates to release family recipes during their campaign—it helps to humanize the candidates and also allows them to promote family values. But Family Circle decided to up the ante by publishing cookie recipes from the wives of each candidate and asking readers to try baking both and then vote on their favorite. The results of the bake-off have interestingly almost always predicted the winner of the presidential election, save a couple outliers.

In the first First Lady bake-off in 1992, Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies beat out Barbara Bush’s still-delicious chocolate chip recipe, and again in 1996, Hillary’s chocolate chip recipe won over Elizabeth Dole’s Pecan Roll cookies. In 2000, Laura Bush debuted her Texas Governor’s House Cowboy Cookies, and as expected, they beat our Tipper Gore’s ginger snap recipe.

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies
From Southern Living:

Laura switched up her recipe during her husband’s second presidential campaign in 2004 to a similar oatmeal chocolate chunk recipe, but it’s her first Cowboy Cookie that’s become so famous. As with most things in Texas, Laura’s Cowboy Cookies are big and completely stuffed with so many mix-ins: oats, coconut, pecans, and of course, chocolate chips

Ingredients 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar, packed 3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut 2 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degree F.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bowl.
In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake in 350 degree F oven 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to rack to cool

CLINTON FAMILY'S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

The last Presidential Cookie Bake-Off was held in 2016 for the Candidates's spouses. Bill Clinton, as the spouse, was asked to contribute a recipe, and the Clinton campaign submitted the "Clinton Family's Chocolate Chip Cookies" (see above for same recipe 1992, 1996, 2016!) -- a reprise of Hillary Clinton's earlier oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Melania Trump submitted her recipe for Star Cookies, a rolled butter cookie, enriched with a bit of sour cream and egg yolk. Nothing special, and no chocolate! She did not win..Sadly her husband won the electoral vote, but not the popular vote ... just as this cookie shows... no one likes a plain cookie!

Sadly The Presidential First Lady Bakeoff was cancelled in 2020. Family Circle Magazine, the sponsor, published its last issue in December of 2019 after 86 years in publication. 

But in case you're looking for one of Jill Biden's favorite cookies, here's the recipe for Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries. It's not her recipe, but it is her favorite cookie. Recipe from Night with Giada: A Quick and Simple Recipe to Improve Dinner by Giada De Laurentiis.

Jill Biden's favorite cookies - recipe from Giada De Laurentiis: CHOCOLATE CHUNK OATMEAL COOKIES WITH CRANBERRIES


Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature 

1/2 cup light brown sugar 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 large egg at room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

2 cups old fashioned oats 

1 cup dried cranberries 1

 4-ounce 60 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate bar (recommended: Ghirardelli), chopped into 1/4-inch chunks 

Directions

Special equipment: a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ice cream or cookie scoop 

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. With machine running, gradually add lour mixture. Add oats, cranberries and chocolate chunks. Mix until just incorporated (dough will be stiff). Using 4-ounce cookie scoop, scoop slightly rounded mounds of the dough into 12 (2-inch-diameter) balls. Arrange 6 balls of dough, spaced evenly apart, on each baking sheet. Using back of a spoon, flatten tops slightly and bake until cookies are slightly golden on edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes before serving.

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