Recipes that come with a warm or entertaining backstory can be some of the best you’ve ever tasted. This past spring, the death of Barbara Bush reminded many of her talents as a home cook and her popular chocolate chip cookies.
During the 1990s, Barbara Bush and her husband George H.W. Bush were residents at Manor House, a home that sat on the grounds of the Houstonian Hotel. At this time the elder Bush was working for the CIA and as vice president, and the couple spent much of their time enjoying local restaurants and meals prepared by their private chef.
But Mrs. Bush was also a force in the kitchen, and one of the things she was known for were these cookies. The recipe itself was shared with her by a friend, and she even submitted it to Family Circle magazine for a baking competition for first ladies.
After staff at the Houstonian Hotel caught wind of the recipe – which features oats in the dough – they approached Mrs. Bush for her permission to use it. Head pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez told Houston Culture Map:
“She was having lunch here at our restaurant, Olivette. We asked her if we could use it at the hotel. She said she would be honored and she was flattered that we even asked.”
Since 2016, the hotel has been serving up the cookies as treats for visitors, party guests, and clients like brides and dignitaries. Special care has been put into the packaging as well, with a label reading, “These cookies are made with gracious permission from Mrs. Bush.”
The recipe is available for others to enjoy, and we’re sharing Southern Living‘s tutorial below.
The chefs at the Houstonian prefer to use Valrhona brand chocolate chips, but feel free to go with your favorite. To see how these sweets are made from scratch, click on the clip below.
Don’t think milk is the only accompaniment for these, as Rodriguez suggests having some with your ice cream or cup of coffee. Yum! Now a mainstay at the hotel, the cookies will continue to be a small tribute to the former first lady’s legacy.
If you can’t get to the Houstonian but want to sample some presidential cookies, fire up your oven and make these. And let us know how they measure up to your grandma’s recipe— or your own!
Were you a fan of Barbara Bush? Did you know she was such a foodie and loved to cook? Are you excited to try this recipe?