Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I was still digesting the NYT report that Hillary Rodham Clinton has been watching envoys poach her turf ("And Now Let the Jockeying Begin" published January 31, 2009) when today's news about President Obama serving Oatmeal Raisin Cookies hit the wire ("Obama Woos G.O.P. With Attention, and Cookies"). I tried in vain to locate the early 1990s image of Hillary serving cookies in the Clinton White House. It was a calculated photo-op meant to soften remarks she made about her career (along the lines of, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies,") which caused people who stayed home and baked cookies to take umbrage - or caused people whose life's work centers on getting other people fired up, to stir up some umbrage.

I stay home and bake cookies, partly because of my career in the sweet kitchen and partly because I'm at home with kids and kids, in addition to liking stickers, like cookies. I was in college during Cookiegate. I didn't take - or couldn't be persuaded to take - any offense. Isn't the beauty of our freedom, opportunity, equality and, let's face it, wealth, that we can find our own balance of cookies and careers?

It remains to be seen if HRC will be well-regarded in her new position. It was always going to be tricky for Hillary in the Obama White House, especially with all the other sharp elbows in the room. I don't dispute the glass ceiling but I don't see gender as a limiting factor in the career arc of the Secretary of State. It's more personal than that (I would have said, "It's her character, stupid," if Carville merited quoting). Obama is green and finding his footing, and his cookies might be just as calculated as Hillary's. *HAH! Who am I kidding?!? The Roadrunner supercomputer is less calculating than the Clintons!* The critical difference: Obama makes handing out cookies look good.

Presidential Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Print recipe only here


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t salt
3 cups oats
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips

In a mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add sugars and cream together for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and mix in.

Sift or whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon). Add to mixer and combine on a low speed, scraping bottom of the bowl at least once. Add oats and combine on low speed. Add raisins or chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Drop by measured spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes in a preheated 350 oven. Or, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and bake individual cookies as desire. Unless you're serving a roomful of politicos, you don't need to bake all the cookies at once - just bake off as many as you will serve and refrigerate the rest for another day.

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