Once again it is time for the First Lady Candidate Cookie Contest, when Americans judge Presidents and would-be Presidents by their wives’ culinary skills. It’s a ridiculous exercise–this ain’t Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge recipe of 1955, it’s 2012. But since the good folks at Family Circle magazine have asked Americans to do their “patriotic duty” by tasting Ann Romney’s and Michelle Obama’s cookies, we figured we could skip the social commentary and answer the crucial question: How do they taste?
Here in the TIME offices we conducted a blind taste test, analyzing both cookies and doughs. We debated the flavor and texture: Was one too greasy? The other too minty? This was a thorough examination, we assure you. Our favorite by a 9-3 landslide: Michelle Obama’s white and dark chocolate chip cookie over Ann’s M&M confection.
Our test-kitchen results surprised us—not because the white and dark chocolate cookie didn’t look delicious—it did–but because we thought the recipe wasn’t Michelle’s. Nearly every taster vowed that the “healthier” non-Crisco, non-flour, heavy-on-the-oats M&M cookie must have been the anti-obesity advocate’s creation. Nope. Michelle’s cookies actually call for two sticks of butter and a stick of Crisco. Ann’s is only a marginal improvement in nutritional value—two cups of sugar and 1.5 cups of crunchy peanut butter, overpowered by 4.5 cups of oats.
Michelle’s cookie may be more decadent, but it is actually much cheaper. Ann’s ingredients cost 30% more than the current First Lady’s: $1.01/cookie compared to $0.69/cookie. (At least that was the breakdown from our local Washington D.C. Giant grocery store.)
So what have we learned from this experiment? One, homemade cookies taste good. Two, none of the Romney grandchildren has a peanut allergy. And three, since all winners since 1992 have ended up living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave—except Cindy McCain, whose borrowed recipe for oatmeal-butterscotch cookies beat Michelle’s lemon zest shortbread in 2008—we predict that Obama has an 80% chance of winning re-election. Unless of course Family Circle challenges Mitt and Barack to a grilling competition.
Try for yourself and tweet us @TIMEPolitics. Recipes can be found here. Online voting ends August 15.