It's Bush _ if you're talking cookies

Published July 6, 2000|Updated Sept. 27, 2005

The bake-off between the wives of presidential candidates comes down to one crucial issue: chocolate.

It is a shame that no one told Tipper Gore about America's obsession with chocolate. Consequently, her ginger snaps might cost husband Al Gore the presidency.

Mrs. Gore's Ginger Snaps are going cookie-to-cookie against Laura Bush's Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy Cookies in Family Circle's third cook-off between the presidential candidates' wives. You can try out the recipes and cast your vote by sending a postcard to Family Circle Cookie Cook-Off, c/o Grand Central Station Post Office, P.O. Box 4663, New York, NY 10163. It must be postmarked by Aug. 1. The winner will be revealed in an upcoming issue.

We baked a batch of each and staged an unofficial taste test in the newsroom. Mrs. Bush's cookies, stuffed with coconut, chocolate chips and pecans, won in a landslide over Mrs. Gore's more delicate offering. There were grumblings that neither cookie was great, but the chocolate won over most palates.

So far, as go the cookies, so go the elections.

Hillary Clinton's chocolate chip cookies with oats beat Barbara Bush's oatless chocolate chippers in 1992 and then bested Elizabeth Dole's pecan roll concoction in 1996.

Now that Mrs. Clinton is running a campaign of her own, maybe we'll see a cooking contest between President Clinton and Patricia Lazio, the wife of Mrs. Clinton's U.S. Senate opponent, Rick Lazio.

If you'll recall, it was Mrs. Clinton's 1992 comment "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do is fulfill my profession" that prompted an onslaught of criticism and subsequently Family Circle's bake-off.

Of this year's offerings, the Cowboy Cookies are the more expensive to make. With 3 cups of rolled oats, 2 cups of sweetened flake coconut, 3 cups of chocolate chips and 2 cups of pecans, Mrs. Bush's Cowboy Cookies will set you back more than a few bucks. The recipe says it makes 3 dozen cookies, but be warned that those are Texas-size sweets. You can easily get 6 dozen good-sized cookies from her recipe.

One of our tasters, a ginger snap lover, felt Mrs. Gore's cookies weren't gingery enough. The bigger question, however, is are they good enough to keep the Democratic Party cookie juggernaut going?

Tipper Gore's Ginger Snaps

3} cups all-purpose flour

1{ teaspoons baking soda

2{ teaspoons ground ginger

{ teaspoon ground cinnamon

\ teaspoon ground cloves

} cup (1{ sticks) butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

{ cup molasses

2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar

. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in large bowl.

In another large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugar; continue to beat on medium speed until combined, 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in molasses and vinegar until combined, 1 minute. On low speed, beat in flour mixture.

For each cookie, roll 1 rounded tablespoon of dough into ball; place 2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheet. With fork, flatten each and make cross-hatch pattern. Bake in 325 oven 15 to 16 minutes, until slightly browned around edges. Remove cookies to rack to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Preparation: 20 minutes.

Texas Governor's Mansion Cowboy Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1{ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1{ cups granulated sugar

1{ cups packed light-brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened flake coconut

2 cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)

. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 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; beat 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 \ cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake in 350 oven 17-20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Preparation: 25 minutes.

Note: For 6 dozen smaller cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough for each. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.