These aren’t just any chocolate chip cookies, these are Hillary Clinton’s own recipe. According to the lore surrounding these cookies, Hillary used to make them for congressman and other politicos when she was Arkansas’ first lady. It may be hard to believe that Hillary was ever handing out cookies to Bill’s buddies, but the history behind the publication of the cookie recipe epitomizes Hillary’s own struggle to be taken seriously.
The reason we remember this recipe is because it embodies everything about Hillary’s representation during Bill Clinton‘s 1992 campaign. Hillary Clinton was a highly motivated career woman, which was unusual for a first lady. She was a well-known lawyer, a social advocate and had a career that rivaled her husband’s. Barbara Bush, though accomplished, was quite the opposite. She was a traditional “family values” model: a stay-at-home mom, married to her high school sweetheart.
This recipe became famous in 1992 during Bill’s first campaign when Hillary answered a question about her career with her now famous “stay at home and bake cookies” quote:
I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.
If you were alive during the 90s, you heard that quote over and over. It was terrifying to some people. Republicans called her a dangerous feminist. The cookie quote was plastered on every magazine, featured in every sound byte and shown on every nightly newscast. The New York Times noted at least 20 articles in major publications that compared her to Lady Macbeth.
After the quote made the rounds, Hillary tried to soften her image. She had no contempt for stay-at-home moms, she just had contempt for people who thought women couldn’t have both a career and a family. As part of that softening, she baked cookies. At least she submitted a recipe.
Family Circle Magazine ran this recipe in a “Clinton Vs Bush Presidential Bake-Off” article, pitting Barbara Bush’s cookie recipe against Hillary Clinton’s in a contest to judge which one was better. How 90s is that? Presidential candidates’ wives still participate in a bake-off every election, so Hillary was setting a tradition for future first ladies, though it may be a tradition we should drop.
Barbara Bush submitted a traditional, Donna Reedesque recipe that could have been copied from the back of the chocolate chip package. Hillary Clinton’s recipe was a bit more modern. She used rolled oats. Edgy. Coincidentally, Hillary’s cookies won the bake-off.
As silly as the Family Circle Bake-Off is, history shows the winning baker’s husband usually wins the presidency. Bill submitted oatmeal cookies in 2008 and lost. In 2016, Hillary submitted her old, winning recipe from 1992. The cookies won. I think we all know the outcome of the election.
The bake-off usually happens in October.
Hillary Clinton’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 cup 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
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Time Required: 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush baking sheets lightly with vegetable oil or spray with a cooking spray.
- Combine 1 & 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda on waxed paper.
- Beat together 1 cup of shortening, 1 cup of packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy. Add 2 eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
- Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 2 cups of rolled oats and then 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips.
- Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or till golden brown.
- Cool cookies on sheets for 2 minutes. Place cookies on wire racks to cool completely.
- This recipe makes 7 dozen cookies. You can half the ingredients if you need to.