Good Food Blog
Taking the biscuitPosted at 3:20PM, 17 November 2008 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
As the American presidential candidates were hot on the campaign trail, another just as fierce competition took place between the two potential First Ladies, Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama. It's become something of a tradition for the candidates' wives to compete in a cookie recipe competition organised by the American magazine, Family Circle.
The 'cookie cook-off' is taken very seriously by the magazine's readers
The magazine publishes the signature cookie recipes of current and aspiring First Ladies and the 'cookie cook-off' is taken very seriously by the magazine's readers, who vote for the winning recipe based on taste, by postcard or online.
It all kicked off in 1992 when Hillary Clinton appeared on American TV show 60 Minutes and defended her career by saying dismissively, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas." To appease America's outraged housewives, she accepted a challenge from Family Circle magazine and provided an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Cookies are a much loved American tradition and the country's First Ladies have always served them at White House receptions, ever since Martha Washington's 'jumbals' first appeared in the 18th century. Subsequent First Ladies followed suit (although there's no record of cookie recipes from Jackie Kennedy or Pat Nixon), with Mary Todd Lincoln's Gingerbread cookies, Eleanor Roosevelt's Honey drops, Mamie Eisenhower's star-shaped Sugar cookies and Nancy Reagan's Coconut macaroons.
This year Cindy McCain entered her recipe for Oatmeal-butterscotch cookies, while Michelle Obama opted for Shortbread cookies, flavoured with Amaretto and citrus zest, which she attributed to Mama Kaye, the godmother of both Obama daughters.
Surprisingly, neither recipe contains chocolate. Chocolate has always been popular with Family Circle readers. In 1992 Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush both submitted chocolate-chip cookie recipes, but Hillary's was judged to be the winner. Elizabeth Dole's (chocolate-free) Pecan rolls lost to Hillary Clinton's Chocolate chip cookies again in 1996; Tipper Gore's Ginger snaps lost out to Laura Bush's Texas governor's mansion chocolate cowboy cookies in 2000 and Laura Bush triumphed again in 2004 with her Oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies, which won the vote against Teresa Heinz Kerry's Pumpkin spice cookies.
I know you're all dying to know who won this year's best cookie! 8,000 people voted and it was ultimately Cindy McCain who took the biscuit - but unfortunately not without rumours that her cookie recipe was almost identical to a similar recipe on the Food Network website.
Could it happen here? Could we have Sarah Brown competing against Samantha Cameron for the best cake recipe? Perhaps not!