We Tried Laura Bush’s Winning Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

She sure knows how to make a good cookie!

Former First Lady Laura Bush has not only one but two winning cookie recipes from Family Circle’s Presidential Bake-Off. If you remember, we tried her cowboy cookies and they were a smashing success (seriously, unbelievable). When I discovered she had a second contest-winning cookie recipe, I knew I had to make this one, too. Did it stack up to its predecessor? Keep reading to find out.

Find more First Ladies’ favorite recipes

Laura Bush’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yields: 64 cookies (enough for the White House staff!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs (this is why they should be at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick-cook oats (not old-fashioned)
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups chocolate chunks
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped dried sour cherries

Directions

Step 1: Prep, Prep, Prep

About an hour before you plan to bake, take out the butter and eggs so they can come up to room temperature. Once they’re warmed up, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and take out two baking sheets. Line them with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (you won’t need to grease either).

If using whole walnuts, chop those into smaller pieces. I bought pre-chopped nuts to save some time. Then, chop the dried cherries. Warning: they’ll be a little sticky.

Editor’s tip: I could only find sweetened dried cherries at the grocery store, so that’s what I used in this recipe. You can use either.

Step 2: Mix and Blend

Cream the butter and both sugars using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer (unless you have arms of steel, then, by all means, mix it by hand). Add the eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla.

Editor’s tip: I prefer Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract. It’s more expensive than what you’d typically find at your local grocery store, but the quality is totally worth it! And if you’re wondering, this is why vanilla is so expensive right now.

Next, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats. Beat gently by hand. Then, stir in the walnuts, chocolate chunks and cherries. I could only find dark chocolate chunks, and I highly recommend. There’s just something about dark chocolate and cherries.

With all the mix-ins added, the dough reached the very top of my bowl. Mrs. Bush really likes to pack her cookies full of goodies! Stir slowly and carefully, otherwise, you’ll have a big mess on your hands. Or just get a bigger bowl.

Step 3: Bake

When the dough’s ready to go, grab a tablespoon full and roll into a ball. I fit eight cookies on a sheet and baked them for 12-15 minutes. They’re ready to come out when you can see the bottom edges turning a nice golden brown. Let them rest for about a minute on the pan before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Final Verdict

Okay, but how did they taste? Let’s just say, I can understand why she won the contest. These chewy cookies are loaded with savory walnuts, fruity cherries and ooey-gooey chocolate bits. And there’s a hint of cinnamon. Even after waiting a while before digging in (that was so hard!), the chocolate was still melty when I bit into it. I’ll admit, I ate four cookies in one day, and my co-workers couldn’t stop at just one!

Bottom line, if you’re in the mood for a chocolate chip cookie that goes above and beyond, then this is the best cookie for you at this very moment.

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Emily Racette Parulski
Emily Racette Parulski is a Senior Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in email newsletters. When she’s not writing about food, she’s baking something sweet to feed her chocolate obsession.