Thursday, October 16, 2008

Presidential Cookie Bake-Off

Tonight for my final night of class (I teach a graphic design class at a local college), after the obligatory final quiz and critique of the final project we had a little election-year fun. We dissected/critiqued some of the campaign designs and went over the Boston Globe piece "What font says 'Change.'" To go with the theme, I did something I've always wanted to do. . . I made both recipes from the Family Circle Presidential Cookie Bake-Off.

Here's my assessment:

Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies: Love the dough, Hate the cookie. I really had high hopes for this cookie. After looking at the recipe and the Family Circle photo I thought this might finally be the oatmeal cookie I could love. Traditional, old-fashioned, hearty, time-tested and true and then she changes it up with something just a little unusual and unexpected: butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips or raisins, playing the maverick, right? But as with all oatmeal cookies, you can spin it any way you want but its really just the same old thing and I'm left disappointed.
Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies: Much better in person. The Family Circle photo is soooo deceiving. . . it looks like spicy cornbread! Who puts bits of green and yellow and red in a cookie? Come on! In the recipe, the very last ingredient says "nuts and dried fruit optional." Note to Michelle Obama, you can't trust people to make this kind of judgement call, not in a bake-off! You need to keep this recipe under tight control, no variables; bits of dried apricot with sliced almonds would've worked, but pineapple and pistachio? That's democracy gone wrong! Be a dictator/monarch in the kitchen, not a pawn to peoples' weird whims! But enough about the picture of the one Family Circle made to throw the vote, MINE were DIVINE. No nuts, no fruity chunks. Just cookie. I thought they were so good! Really a nice taste and a interesting but subtle flavor. Perfect texture and consistancy.

But I guess, in politics maybe nuts and fruits aren't optional, the question is which to vote for? (Just kidding, I really respect both candidates.) If we're just talking cookies, McCain won the Family Circle vote, but in my own little taste test with my class Obama was the landslide winner.

5 comments:

Eileenluke@netzero.com said...

Oh my!!! Make me hungry. Sounds like a fun activity

katherine said...

ok, just by reading/seeing this, and not reading the entire recipe of either cookie, i think i would like the shortbread better. and maybe to spice that up i would add the toffee chips to it - hum! ps, speaking of desserts, wish you could have stayed longer, but so glad that we got together, we NEED to make that a more regular thing. love you!

April said...

you know, it really does just come down to cookies with me... I know who's getting my vote!

Um and the Law homemade S'mores are still my favorite, hands down.

mushroommeadows said...

That's so cool that you actually made them! :) I think I would prefer the butterscotch oatmeal cookies because I have a sweet tooth. :)

Surly Temple said...

I vote for cookies in general, but I agree that shortbread should, as a rule, be fruit-free. Unless laden with some sort of jam on top and then maybe another level of crumble or something, thereby swanking up the ubiquitous bar cookie.

As far as oatmeal goes, try this one:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (60 to 65 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Preparation
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

Using electric mixer at high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg, honey, and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add oat mixture and mix at low speed just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate and ginger.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake until golden and slightly crisp on edges, about 14 to 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.