Sunday, December 7, 2008
Cookies for our Soldier in Iraq
As part of Sharon Johnson’s Stamp Simply celebration, Janine at 2bkrafty (http://2bkrafty.blogspot.com/) challenged visitors to her blog to bake up some cookies, create a festive package for them, and then share the packaging and the recipe. This was a perfect opportunity for me to make some cookie bars to send to our adopted soldier in Iraq. If you click on the image, a much larger version showing much more detail will open in a new window. ;)
We are the very proud “Angel” parents of a soldier who we adopted through Soldiers’ Angels. This wonderful group matches US soldiers who need support and encouragement from home with individuals and families who “adopt” them for the duration of their deployment. Over the past four years, we’ve adopted a total of 7 individual soldiers, six of whom have returned safely to US soil. And at various times, we’ve also adopted entire platoons and even a special forces unit. It has been rewarding and humbling. We lost ten members of one of our platoons in 2006 in three separate incidents all in the same week. It brought the war right into our kitchen when the sergeant emailed us pictures taken of a memorial to the soldiers who were lost. We got a fresh appreciation for the sacrifice our children are making by being there, and in a very personal way. For more information about Soldier’s Angels, please visit http://www.soldiersangels.org/.
The cookie canister was an oatmeal box in another life. DH loves hot oatmeal for breakfast and it just so happened that we emptied the box this week, and this made a perfect cookie box for shipping cookies to Iraq.
I decorated this cookie box with a little bit of everything. The ornaments were cut with the Cricut Expression, borders were cut with border punches, and I even used some stickers in addition to stamping snowflakes and the greeting, “Peace on Earth”. I got the wonderful snowflake ornaments I used to decorate the lid from Marnie (stamplady_13 at SCS) in a “Pay it Forward” box and I left the loops on them so he can hopefully hang them up as decorations. The card is one I made specifically for Tim in the November Cabaret VSN at SplitCoast Stampers.
As for the recipe for these super easy cookie bars, honestly, I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that these cookies are made from a Devil’s Food boxed cake mix. It’s a very versatile recipe, and I have substituted marshmallows and peanuts for the walnuts and coconut, and I’ve also added Health Bar pieces and M&M’s for color and crunch. You can’t make a mistake with this recipe! It freezes well and it mails well, so it’s great for care packages to kids in college too. For mailing to Iraq, which takes about 10 days, I layer them with wax paper and stack them in a vacuum sealer bag and vac seal them. They stay amazingly fresh and travel well.
Easy Bar Cookies
One regular size (not Jiffy) Devil’s Food cake mix
One stick of butter (4 ounces)
8 ounce package of cream cheese
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup sugar or equivalent non-sugar substitute
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
½ of a regular size bag of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 12 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Add the cake mix and mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. The mixture will be dark and crumbly. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the baking dish and pat firmly.
In a microwave safe mixing bowl, soften the cream cheese. It takes about a minute to get it soft, fluffy and easy to mix. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and sugar and then mix in the nuts, coconut and chocolate chips, Spread the mixture evenly over the “cake” layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes – until the top just starts to get golden brown.
Let them cool completely in the baking dish before cutting. I find it helps to run a knife along the inside edge of the baking dish while they are still fairly hot. I usually cut them into about 18 squares, but you can cut them larger or smaller according to your personal preference.
Posted by Cathy and Steve at 12:25 AM