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The Houstonian Hotel has been whipping up Barbara Bush’s chocolate chip cookies since 2016.
“They’re sweet and firm,” Catherine Rodriguez, head pastry chef at the Houstonian, recently told CultureMap—two adjectives many would use to describe the former First Lady herself.
Following Bush’s death at the age of 92 , the Houstonian has been treating guests to her “famous” chocolate chip cookies in her honor. “We’ve been baking and giving away thousands of Mrs. Bush’s cookies since her passing,” Rodriguez said.
The cookie recipe was a favorite of the Bush family matriarch, who reportedly got it from a dear friend. In 1992, she even submitted it to Family Circle’s “presidential bake-off” competition. Years later, Houstonian staff discovered the recipe and approached Bush one day while she was visiting.
Now, the cookies are given as holiday treats to visiting children, dignitaries, and hotel clients. Their label reads: “These cookies are made with gracious permission from Mrs. Bush.”
Rodriguez has worked at the Houstonian for 11 years, and says the secret is in the oats and the Valrhona chocolate chips—which she called the “best chocolate chips available.”
“They’re great because they have a distinct taste, with the oats and specialty chocolate chips,” she noted. “But they’re not a soft, fluffy, cookie.”
Barbara Bush’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
- 1 (12 ounces) bag semisweet chocolate chips, preferably Valrhona
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt onto waxed paper. Set aside.
- Beat together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
- Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
I’m a big fan of Barbara Bush for a lot of different reasons. This cookie recipe makes my memories of her that much sweeter!
Photo source (Barbara Bush with plate of cookies): usatoday.com