First Lady Bake-Off: A lil’ bit sexist, but who doesn’t love cookies?


Michelle Obama’s cookie recipe has taken Family Circle Magazine’s First-Lady Bake off. This victory carries 0 electoral votes, but boasts a shocking 6/7 times return on positive election results.

But the question remains, just how sexist is this bake-off? This article on Jezebel does a great look at the issue. The bake-off is certainly problematic, especially since it was originated as a challenge to Hilary Clinton’s remarks about preferring a career over “staying home and baking cookies.” Presidential spouse is a hard office to run for. We’re not electing them to office, but we have to evaluate them with some sort of standard criteria… but at this point in history, the only thing they’ve all had in common is that they’re women. I definitely take offense to the idea that you can measure a woman’s accomplishment by baking skill, but at the same time, I think baking is important to family traditions. My family baking traditions are cherished, so I love glimpsing into the candidates’ family food.

To me, the problem is not that we’re having a bake-off, it’s that this is activity done by only women and allegedly relevant only to women. The Jezebel article says,

“To people offended by Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama’s career choices, a man baking is probably more offensive to rigid gender identities than a woman not baking.”

And I agree! Baking is not the problem; the way we defer to women as the primary bakers is. Spending a little time elbow deep in delicious cookie dough that will make the hungry people around you happy is not a solely female desire; it’s a human desire. I can’t wait to see how the gender politics play out when a women gets the candidacy. Potential First Husbands, prepare your cookies for combat.
SO MEN, try out the recipe for yourself. It yields 5 dozen cookies, so I’d recommend baking what you plan to eat that day and save the rest of the dough in your freezer. Then you can have fresh, home-made cookies in a moment’s notice.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 stick Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup each white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips (or Andes mint pieces)
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract.

2. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. By hand, stir in white and milk chocolate chips, mint chips and walnuts.

3. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.


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