Family Circle has announced the winner of its 2016 Presidential Cookie Poll: Clinton Family's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
The home and family magazine publisher, which has been conducting its poll since 1992, introduced the cookie ballot as one way for the spouses of presidential candidates to connect with voters.
One wishes that the simplicity of a cookie poll could accurately predict the outcome of the presidential race. While it hasn't been 100 percent accurate, it's come pretty close. Only once the cookie poll faltered when in 2008 Cindy McCain beat out Michelle Obama with oatmeal butterscotch cookies.
If this is the first time you are reading about the Family Circle Presidential Cookie Poll, you need to know that the contest sprung out of the furor surrounding a comment that Hillary Clinton made about pursuing a career in public service instead of staying home and baking cookies when her husband, Bill, was running for the president of the United States for the first time in 1992. You can read more about that here.
Here are the past results:
2012 Michelle Obama's dark and white chocolate chip cookies beat Ann Romney's M&M cookies by the narrowest of margins.
2008 Cindy McCain’s oatmeal-butterscotch recipe was preferred over Michelle Obama’s shortbread cookies.
2004 Laura Bush's oatmeal-chocolate chunk cookies trounced Teresa Heinz Kerry's pumpkin spice cookies (this is before the pumpkin spice trend caught on, apparently).
2000 Laura Bush's Texas Governor's Mansion cowboy cookies held swagger over Tipper Gore's ginger snaps.
1996 Hillary Clinton's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies eclipsed Elizabeth Dole's pecan roll cookies
1992 Hillary Clinton's oatmeal chocolate chips beat Barbara Bush's chocolate chip cookies (interesting note: halfway through the contest, Barbara Bush revised her recipe).
Here in the newsroom we strive to measure each cookie based on its own merit instead of the personality that created it by conducting a "blind" taste test – no political affiliations are revealed until after the poll closes.
In 2012, the newsroom poll declared Ann Romney's M&M cookies the winner in a very close contest. But this year the results were unanimous: The Clinton family's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies won 100 percent of the vote. This is the same recipe that won in the national poll in 1992 and 1996. Despite what some reports say, this is not "Bill's" recipe; it's simply a tried and true winner.
In full disclosure, I made Melania Trump's star-shaped cookies. I followed the recipe to a T, and checked the ingredient list more than once because it seemed a bit ... bland. The dough is high maintenance, sticky, and requires refrigeration. It's likely I did not roll out the dough enough. They do make attractive cookies and the star shape is appealing as a patriotic symbol. But the cookies were missing something. They needed frosting to sweeten them up. I wrote to a Slovenian culture and travel company to see if perhaps these were Eastern European cookies with an unfamiliar taste. They wrote back,
"[These] cookies are quite 'international cookies' – we cannot mark them as purely Slovenian. More about our traditional food and pastry is available HERE."
Marjorie Kehe, our books editor, took on the challenge of making the Clinton family oatmeal chocolate chips. She says that she was a bit intimidated by the fancy star shapes when we set up our cookie poll.
But a beautiful cookie swayed no one. When it came right down to it – taste trumped style.
Some comments from our exit poll:
"It's hard to beat a good sugar or butter cookie. This was not one. So I'm breaking with my lifelong sugar cookie affiliation and voting oatmeal."
"One has chocolate. 'Nuff said."
"These two visions for American cookies stand in stark contrast."
"This [star shaped cookie] tastes like a communion wafer, but without the absolution."
"Both sub-optimal, a little like the candidates."
"It was no competition. The star cookie tasted liked packed sawdust. Maybe it could be fixed with cream cheese frosting, but it's pretty hopeless."
"[Oatmeal chocolate chip] no contest. Wholesome Ohio oats. Great Pennsylvania chocolate. Swing states should see a clear choice."
"[Oatmeal chocolate chips] all the way. You can't beat chocolate."
"[Star-shaped cookie] Eh ... or is it meh? [Oatmeal cookie] while still not a favorite, was much better. I mean, chocolate chips already!"
"[Oatmeal chocolate chips] all the way! Tasty, made with Midwestern oatyness."
"No contest at all. [Oatmeal chocolate chips] had something for everyone. [The star-shaped cookies] had the flavor of dust. Where was the butter?"
"[The star-shaped] cookie was a disgrace to America. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies truly make America great."
If you'd like to test and judge for yourself, you can find the recipes on the Family Circle website here.