Clinton Chocolate Chip Cookies and Trump's Star Cookies Which One Would You Eat?

Clinton Chocolate Chip Cookies and Trump's Star Cookies Which One Would You Eat?

Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 21st Aug 2016

          The 2016 presidential race where everyone wins with great cookie recipes.

          When you think of Family Circle magazine’s quadrennial presidential cookie competition, you might think it started way back in the 1950’s with Mamie Eisenhower, but this cookie contest actually began with Hillary Clinton.

          For every presidential election since 1992, Family Circle has published a single cookie recipe from the wives of the presidential candidates. This year’s recipes were published on Thursday morning, though with an obvious twist in events this time around. As Hillary Clinton is now a presidential candidate as the first female candidate of a large party, it was Bill Clinton and Melania Trump’s cookies that were the contenders for this year’s competition.

          The “Clinton Family’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” are highly reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, a recipe previously submitted in this competition. As for Melania Trump, she has submitted “Melania Trump’s Star Cookies.” Readers of Family Circle and followers of the competition will be able to vote on both recipes in an upcoming poll on the magazine’s website.

          However, this isn’t so much about the cookies as it is about Hillary Clinton herself. In 1992, Hillary Clinton was a rarity: a wife of a political figure who had her own high profile career, and who hadn’t set it all aside to simply be at Bill Clinton’s side when he became the governor of Arkansas. In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton’s career seemed to turn into an issue. Questions began to arise as to whether or not Bill Clinton had “funneled state business into her law firm.”

          When she was questioned by the press about her career, Hillary had the following to say.

          “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."

          Her statements received major backlash almost instantly. Interpreted as ridiculing traditional housewives and stay-at-home mothers, the comments were not taken well and created yet another controversy revolving around her.

          Around that time, a PR person at the Family Circle magazine developed an idea to have a cookie competition for the wives of the presidential candidates. Regina Ragone observed that the magazine was very famous for cookie recipes and other recipes, and thought that Hillary Clinton’s controversial remark was the ideal opportunity to get a cookie recipe competition going. This idea turned into a fun contest that eventually became a Family Circle tradition.

          For the first contest that year, Hillary Clinton entered her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and Barbara Bush entered her own chocolate chip cookies with no oatmeal. People from around America tuned in to the polls to vote on their favorite recipe and at the end of it all. Hillary Clinton was crowned the winner.

          News reports from that year speak of how Hillary went all out for the competition. She sought out help from her friends to bake cookies, and even went as far as passing them out to get more votes on the polls. After the backlash concerning her cookies statement, it appeared that Hillary, who was a graduate from Yale Law School, ended up campaigning hard for the baking competition while her husband, Bill Clinton, was campaigning for the presidential election.

          According to npr.org, The New York Times described Hillary Clinton’s cookie campaign by saying:

          "The public has been invited to vote, so Mrs. Clinton is giving her cookies a jump start at the convention this week. On Monday, she told an audience of Congressional wives at a tea given in her honor by Doris Matsui, wife of Representative Robert T. Matsui of California, the Democratic Party treasurer, that while she hadn't sought a competition, she was going all out to win. 'Join with me in the first real effort of the election year,' she said. 'Try my cookies. I hope you like them, but like good Democrats vote for them anyway.'"

          The director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, Debbie Walsh, found the entire thing quite old-fashioned. Women in society were present in the workplace and were bringing in income for their homes long before 1992, and this definitely hasn’t changed up to now.

          Debbie Walsh thought that it was almost as if Hillary Clinton had stepped outside the lines and somehow broken the traditional image of what a potential first lady had to be like. And because of this, thought Walsh, Hillary Clinton was made to pay a price – a price that involved being placed into a cookie contest. However, as Debbie Walsh was sure to say, baking cookies and being a successful women are not exclusive.

          Melania Trump’s current submission, as described by Regina Ragone, is quite simple and appears to be of a traditionally Eastern European origin: cookie dough rolled out and cut into the shape of little stars.

          Hillary Clinton has brought back her oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from 1992 and 1996. They won the contest both years. However, since Hillary Clinton is now the presidential candidate, the name of the cookies now carries the Clinton family name, instead of the ‘wife’s recipe’ idea.

          There’s no definite word on whether or not Bill Clinton or Melania Trump will be doing the actual baking and campaigning for their cookie submissions, but whether it’s old-fashioned or not, the voting polls for this year’s cookie contest open today.

          Clinton Family's Chocolate Chip Cookies

          Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies

          Prep 15 minutes

          • Bake at 350° for 12 minutes

            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 eggs
            2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
            1 pkg (12 oz) semisweet 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. *Chocolatier Jason recommends our Caribbean 67% Dark Chocolate for a real gourmet chocolate chip cookie.
            • 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.

        Melania Trump's Star Cookies

        Makes 4 dozen cookies

        • Prep 15 minutes

          Bake at 350° for 10 minutes per batch


          2 cups all-purpose flour
          1/2 tsp baking soda
          6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
          1 cup confectioners' sugar
          2 egg yolks, 1 egg white
          2 tbsp sour cream


          • Combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
          • Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add egg yolks, egg white and sour cream. Beat until smooth.
          • Beat in flour mixture until dough just comes together. Form into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
          • Heat oven to 350°. Roll out one disk on liberally floured wax paper with a floured rolling pin to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch star cutter, cut out star shapes and place on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with second disk. Gather up scraps, form into a disk and refrigerate.
          • Bake 10 minutes per batch, until lightly golden. Slide cookies onto a cooling rack and cool.
          • Re-roll scraps, cut out additional stars and bake.