Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Presidential Family Recipe

In the Kitchen | by Diana Galban


Family recipes are such a special and personal piece of information to pass on through generations. During Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), it's common to see all the family relics brought out to the table. Whether it's grandma's sweet potato casserole or that special way your dad has to brine the turkey, these recipes bring with them special memories and the people who shared them.

In my family, my mom's Cuban eggnog has so many fans that she spends the entire holiday season looking for interesting bottles in order to gift it to her coworkers and friends. A couple of years ago, I asked her for the recipe and I can still remember that moment, both of us sitting in the kitchen while I scribbled it down in my kitchen notebook. And the first time I had to carve a rotisserie chicken in Paris by myself, I wished my dad were here to teach me how. It's not only a cup-of-this or a spoonful of that, it's also the skills and love that go into cooking that get passed down. 

I don't have the status yet to pass down any recipes, but there are a few dishes I'm asked to do every year and I can see them being my own contributions to our family recipe book in the future. 

For Election Night 2016 (aka, The Night of Terror), I thought it would be a comical yet sweet (literally) homage to Hillary to bake her infamous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. 

In 1992, when Hillary uttered that fateful quote "You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession" as a response to the sexist criticism of her role as a working woman during her husband's campaign, Family Circle thought it would be genius to create a bake-off between First Ladys (PS-- She won). This year, the contest was particularly interesting, since it was President Clinton who submitted the family recipe. 

Now, when I came up with this idea, I couldn't foresee that I would be eating them over my sink while I sobbed uncontrollably, but you know. Because I made dozens of them for fear of messing with the measurements in the recipe, I gave everyone some (also in order to prevent a hyperglycemia situation). Since everyone complemented this recipe, I thought I'd share it. 

Some notes: Adding the oatmeal is a genius move, because I love oatmeal but I hate oatmeal cookies (raisins are the boring cousins of chocolate chips). This recipe calls for shortening, which I have never cooked with in my life, so I swapped it out for unsalted butter.

1 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, salt, baking soda.
- Beat together the butter (or shortening), sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl until it's creamy; add one egg at a time and beat until fluffy. 
- Stir into this mixture your dry ingredients until combined. Add chocolate chips.
- Drop batter onto baking sheets lined with wax paper and bake for 10-15 minutes or until they're golden brown. Do not over bake or they'll turn to rock once they cool down. 

Original recipe from The New York Times.