Posts Tagged politics

Obama Pie, My Oh My

My good friends over at Superheroes For Democracy have done a remarkable feat that fuses baking and politics. Behold, Ripley’s Obama Pie:


This pie is for change!

I am in awe of this totally awesome creation. I love her use of the blueberries and raspberries for color, and the lovely pastry cut-outs to create the famous logo. You can find out how she did it over at Superheroes (oh, and learn about other cool political things too). I think I like even more than my Obama cupcakes.

Thank you, Superheroes, for the inpsiring pic!


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ModernDomestic Presidential Cookie Bake-Off: And The Winner Is . . .

Final Cookies

The finalists: Laura Bush's Chocolate Chunk Cookies (top right), Mary Todd Lincoln's Gingerbread Men (top left), Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies (bottom right), and Nancy Reagan's Vienna Chocolate Bars (bottom left).

This is an historic day. The world has been irrevocably altered. Today, we finally know who won the ModernDomestic Presidential Cookie Bake off (and, um, we also have a new leader of the free world).

This was a tough decision, folks. I had four excellent cookie recipes to choose between, and each cookie was unique and delicious in its own way.

To recap the events up to this point, the four winning cookie recipes of our match ups were:

Each cookie was a strong contender, although some had their flaws.

Next: the winning cookie!

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Election Day Obama Cupcakes

Obama Cupcake - Single

Cupcakes we can believe in.

In DC, election day is kind of like the World Series, the Olympics,and Christmas morning, all rolled into one. Every one in DC has been talking about the 2008 election since, well, the 2004 election was over.

So, in honor of my chosen candidate (Barack Obama), I created my very own Obama Cupcakes. I decided that traditional flavors suited this candidate best who, really, is running on as down-home a platform as there ever was (lower taxes for the middle class, better education, sensible foreign policy, reaching accross the aisle).

Obama Cupcakes

These cupcakes are for change!

And what’s more traditional than the classic pairing of vanilla and chocolate? I used Rose Levy-Beranbaum’s Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake recipe (so appropriate!), which yielded 18 chocolate cupcakes. For the frosting, I used this vanilla frosting recipe from the Magnolia Bakery in NYC. I actually thought that the cake came out a little on the dry side, and the frosting was slightly grainy—it didn’t have that silken smooth texture that I’m constantly seeking in a frosting. My quest for the perfect frosting continues.

But despite their flaws, these cupcakes were still enjoyed by all. So happy election day everyone! Now go vote!

Obama Cupcakes - Plate

A plateful of Obama-supporting cupcakes. Don't these make you want to go vote?

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Presidential Cookie Bake Off: Cindy McCain’s Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies vs. Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies

McCain and Obama Cookies

Cindy McCain's Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies (left) compete against Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies (right).

For the past two weeks leading up to election Day, ModernDomestic has been reviewing our eight favorite presidential cookie recipes, and picking the best of the bunch. Check out yesterday’s entry for the battle between Nancy Reagan’s Vienna Chocolate Bars and Pat Nixon’s Sequoia Brownies.

Well this is it folks. Just one more set of recipes to go. And you knew that I couldn’t possibly do the bake off without testing out the recipes of our two current presidential nominee’s wives: Cindy McCain‘s Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies and Michelle Obama’s Shortbread Cookies.

Just like the 2004 elections, there’s been some controversy around the 2008 Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, but this time it’s the Republicans submitting fake recipes. Yes, that’s right, Cindy McCain actually stole her recipe from the Hershey’s Web site. Or, shall I say, she “modified” the recipe from the Hershey’s Web site—Hershey’s calls for 1 3/4 cups butterscotch chips, while McCain’s recipe calls for 1 2/3 cups. Wow, a whopping difference of 1/12 of a cup of butterscotch chips!

While I think it’s a little ridiculous to expect the first ladies to have “family” cookie recipes these days (I mean, doesn’t everyone just get their cookie recipe from the back of the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Bag?), you really wonder that Cindy McCain didn’t learn from the Teresa Heinz Kerry Pumpkin Spice Cookie scandal. The campaign also tried to pass off a bunch of Food Network recipes as Cindy McCain’s, but at least they were able to blame that on a hapless intern.

Michelle Obama has stayed out of the fray, submitting a family recipe for shortbread. Or, at least, if it isn’t a family recipe, it isn’t an easily Google-able one. The recipe is adaptable and can be spiced up with different fruits, nuts or flavorings.

One of these cookies was disgusting and one was divine. But which was which?

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Presidential Cookie Bake Off Round Three: Nancy Regan’s Vienna Chocolate Bars vs. Pat Nixon’s Sequoia Brownies

Reagan and Nixon Cookies 2

Bar Cookie Battle: Nancy Reagan's Vienna Chocolate Bars (left) vs. Pat Nixon's Sequoia Brownies (right)

For the next two weeks leading up to election Day, ModernDomestic will be reviewing our eight favorite presidential cookie recipes, and picking the best of the bunch. Check out last Thursday’s entry for the battle between Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies and Laura Bush’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Part three of the ModernDomestic Presidential Cookie Bake-off is a Battle of the Bar Cookies. In the ring we have Nancy Regan’s Vienna Chocolate Bars (which I’m sure were so chic in the 1980s) and Pat Nixon’s Sequoia Brownies (named after the Presidential yacht).

Now some ModernDomestic readers have questioned the legitimacy of this particular match-up. After all, not only are both women Republicans, but does a brownie really qualify as a cookie?

This is an interesting question, and I must admit that my opinion on the matter is colored by my childhood devotion to The Joy of Cooking. In my version of Joy from 1975, brownies appear in the chapter “Cookies and Bars,” implying that both are, deep down, merely different expressions of the same baked good. I did some poking around on the Web, and found that Merriam Webster defines a “cookie” as “a small flat or slightly raised cake,” while the Epicurious food dictionary defines a cookie as “any of various hand-held, flour-based sweet cakes” and includes “bar cookies” as one of six types of cookie. So, at least from my limited research, I think I can count bar cookies as belonging to the cookie species.

As for the Republican-Republican match up? Honestly, I could have made Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Squares, but Pat Nixon’s Brownies and Nancy Reagan ‘s Vienna Chocolate Bars just looked so much better. And besides, the two are well matched – both women were old-school First Ladies, who presented a perfectly feminine face to the world, but who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support their husband’s political careers.

But who bakes a better bar cookie?

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Presidential Cookie Bake Off Round Two: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie Vs. Laura Bush’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Bush and Kerry Cookies

Theresa Heinz Kerry's Pumpkin Spice Cookies (left) competes against Laura Bush's Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies (right). It's 2004 all over again.

For the next two weeks leading up to election Day, the ModernDomestic will be reviewing our eight favorite presidential cookie recipes, and picking the best of the bunch. Check out yesterday’s entry for the battle between Martha Washington’s Shrewsbury cakes and Mary Todd Lincoln ‘s Gingerbread Men.

For Part Two of the Modern Domestic Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, I couldn’t resist digging up Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe from 2004 and seeing how it stacked up against Laura Bush’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Heinz-Kerry caught a lot of heat in the 2004 elections for her Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe, first because the Family Circle readers didn’t like them, and then because she said the recipe actually wasn’t hers. According to her, the first recipe she submitted to the Family Circle for Yummy Wonders (worst name ever) was rejected because it didn’t work, and someone from the campaign submitted the Pumpkin Spice Cookie recipe without consulting her. Personally, I find that kind of hard to believe. In any event, she disowned the recipe, telling the New York Times, “I never made pumpkin cookies; I don’t like pumpkin spice cookies.”

Laura Bush, on the other hand, submitted a variation on a standard oatmeal cookie. Her Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk Cookies are a smorgasbord of ingredients, including sour cherries, walnuts, and chocolate chunks. Bush won the 2004 bake off, meaning that the Family Circle contest has correctly predicted the election winner for the past four years (although apparently the big secret to winning is chocolate).

Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, I procured both of the recipes from the Family Circle Web site. The recipes follow at the end of the entry.

It’s Bush vs. Kerry all Over Again. But Who Wins the Match?

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Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, Round One: Martha Washington’s Shrewsbury Cakes vs. Mary Todd Lincoln’s Gingerbread Men

Lincoln and Washington Cookies

Round One of the Bake off: Martha Washington's Shrewsbury Cakes (left) compete against Mary Todd Lincoln's Gingerbread Men (right)

For the next two weeks leading up to election Day, ModernDomestic will be reviewing our eight favorite presidential cookie recipes, and picking the best of the bunch. Check out yesterday’s entry for the introduction to the bake off. Tomorrow Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies square off against Laura Bush’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

No Presidential Bake-Off would be complete without traveling back to yesteryear to see how our original First Ladies stacked up cookie-wise. After all, in those days recipes weren’t ubiquitous items found on the back of every cereal box and bag of flour, which makes these recipes all the more interesting.

So today we have recipes from two classic presidential wives: Martha Washington, stalwart and beloved wife of founding father George Washington, and Mary Todd Lincoln, paranoid and unpopular wife of our very own Honest Abe. Who will win, Martha Washington’s Shrewsbury cakes, or Mary Todd Lincoln’s Gingerbread Men? Let the battle begin.

Well, actually, before the battle begins, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I found the Mary Todd Lincoln recipe in this Independent article. It was only after making the cookies that I found out that it was an “approximation” of her actual recipe, which has been lost to history. How exactly the Independent came up with the “approximation” I will never know. Still, I wasn’t going to waste an entire batch of gingerbread men, or, in this case, gingerbread circles and stars. And I figure that they had to modernize the Martha Washington recipe as well, so perhaps they’re still equally matched? You can come to your own conclusions. Recipes follow at the end of the entry.

Martha Washington’s Shrewsbury Cakes
All in all, these were very basic cookies, hailing from a simpler time, when sugar was a luxury and we didn’t expect cookies to be loaded with every kind of chocolate, candy and high-fructose-corn-syrup-flavored filling available. No, the Shrewsbury cakes were honest and plain butter cookies, enriched with egg yolks and sweetened with sugar. When baked, they were very crisp and only slightly tender on the inside. I made them using dried cranberries, but I think if I made them again I would use currants, as the sharp tang of the cranberries didn’t quite mesh with the butteriness of the cookies.

Gingerbread and Shrewsbury Cakes Go Head To Head

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The ModernDomestic Presidential Cookie Bake-Off: Welcome To The SmackDown


Cookies, a proud political tradition.

While all eyes are on the Presidential candidates and their health care/economy/foreign policy plans these days, as a domestically-minded individual, I have another concern on my mind: whose cookie will enter the treasury of White House recipes?

I know that having candidates wives submit cookie recipes harkens back to pre-feminism and pre-internet days where a woman’s place was in the home and everyone didn’t get their recipes from Epicurious (in fact, this has proven a problem for several recent candidates’ wives, as I’ll explain later). But part of me loves this American tradition. After all, cookies are such a rich part of our culinary culture—who doesn’t remember baking gingerbread cookies at Christmas time, or baking up a batch of chocolate chip cookies with their mom? So I find it oddly fitting that cookies would get mixed up in politics.

According to this New York Times article, the actual Presidential Cookie Bake-Off as we know it today is relatively new, beginning in 1992 after Hillary Clinton said her famous quote that she could have “stayed home and baked cookies and had teas,” instead of entering the workforce like she did. Family Circle spotted an opportunity and started the Presidential Cookie Bake Off, where readers vote for their favorite cookie recipe from the presidential candidates’ wives.

So in the first of a four part series, ModernDomestic will be having our own Presidential Cookie Bake Off. After researching first lady and first- lady-candidates recipes, I’ve chosen my favorite eight to compete against each other in an all-out four part Presidential Cookie battle. For the next two weeks the flour will fly, the whisks will stand at attention, and we will discover which first lady has the ultimate presidential cookie recipe.

Tomorrow: We kick it old school, as Martha Washington’s Shrewsbury Cakes Go Head-To-Head with Mary Todd Lincoln’s Gingerbread Men.

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