Baking For The Troops.....need Items That Last....

Decorating By aztomcat Updated 20 Nov 2008 , 7:56pm by sweetisome

aztomcat Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 5:53am
post #1 of 20

I have adopted a troop of 25 Soldiers in Iraq that I have been sending items to for almost 3 months. With Christmas approaching, I'm planning to send homemade goods. It's the top request on their list. A lot of them are from the South (Texas).

The staff Sargent I am working with just told me he is currently overseeing the Whole battalion of 120. So now I feel I need to send enough for all of them.

My Challenge is that it takes about 3 weeks for boxes to get to them. I mail the boxes to an Army Post Office in NY and they eventually fly them on army planes to IRAQ.

What will stay fresh??

My thoughts are:
Biscotti (already hard)
Flavored pecans/nuts.

I have heard of underbaking brownies by 7 minutes and shipping in the pan uncut and covered (i'm not too sure about this)

Any other ideas. I'm baking/preparing the Sunday after Thanksgiving and mailing that Monday.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Dee in AZ

19 replies
cmp24 Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 6:08am
post #2 of 20

Hard candy

sillyjodes Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 6:18am
post #3 of 20

candied citrus peels- time consuming, but so good, especially dipped in chocolate

Sugarflowers Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 6:28am
post #4 of 20

What a wonderful thing you are doing for the troops. When I have sent stuff to my son he has said that the brownies were the best. They were fully cooked and I used a vacuum sealer for every thing. They also like beef jerkey.

When labeling the customs forms be sure that it's not all goodies listed. Those usually "disappear" or are raided. They are less likely to be looted if their are personal items in the box. If you are sending them directly to the commanding officer then it will probably be okay except for the fact that no ranks can be in the delivery address.

At most of the bases they have microwave ovens and love to get the dried soup and the Warm Delights. Another request was for rice crispy treats. They don't care if they are homemade or packaged.

HTH and thank you again for supporting our troops.


cmp24 Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 8:33am
post #5 of 20

I actually wanted to get my kids into doing a pen pal for one of the soliders, but i never knew how to go about doing it.

I'm also glad you are doing this. It's your RAK and one that probably means a lot to those that may not hear anything from there loved ones back home for one reason or another.

-K8memphis Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 9:26am
post #6 of 20

Have you ever made a gingerbread house, displayed it for weeks then got a sugar jones and start eating it? It's still fabulous!

So my suggestion is gingerbread cookies--they have an incredible shelf life and would ship well, nice & sturdy.

heavensgaits Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 9:26am
post #7 of 20

If they're from the south, they probably like pork rhines. I get a lot of requests for those. They might also like pecan pralines. I have a great recipe for those that I could email you if you like. Definitely brownies. Right now the weather is really cooling off over there, so we've been sending alot of chocolate goodies to our friends. They love it, and have said that the chocolate is arriving in good condition.

indydebi Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 12:46pm
post #8 of 20

I have a friend who ships regularly to the troops (She's a West Pointer's Mom). She gave me a great shipping tip. She puts cookies inside a Pringle's can. Helps prevent breakage and easy to pack, doesnt' take up a lot of space. I'm sure candies and fudge would work, too.

LadyMike Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 1:22pm
post #9 of 20
Originally Posted by indydebi

I have a friend who ships regularly to the troops (She's a West Pointer's Mom). She gave me a great shipping tip. She puts cookies inside a Pringle's can. Helps prevent breakage and easy to pack, doesnt' take up a lot of space. I'm sure candies and fudge would work, too.

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that tip, Debi.

aztomcat Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:45pm
post #10 of 20

Thanks for all of the ideas. I love the idea of gingerbread cookies, especially for Christmas. Rice Krispies a no-brainer. Pralines are already on my list.

Heavens - I'd love to get your pralines recipe. If figure anything pecan is in their wheel house.

I'll have to pull out my vacuum sealer and save my pringles cans to use those terrific ideas.

My main concern it that the items be edible after traveling for 2-3 weeks.

To CMP and any others wanting to write letters etc. You can find addresses at They usually list things they need, but appreciate contact through mail even more. You can address the letters to any soldier once it gets to the commanding officer and the unit will share the letters.

ac2steachk Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 1:04am
post #11 of 20

Here's an evening bump for ideas and tips.

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 12:46pm
post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by indydebi

I have a friend who ships regularly to the troops (She's a West Pointer's Mom). She gave me a great shipping tip. She puts cookies inside a Pringle's can. Helps prevent breakage and easy to pack, doesnt' take up a lot of space. I'm sure candies and fudge would work, too.

I spoke with my friend yesterday and told her that I had passed on her idea. She reminded me that for larger items (and even for non-food items), oatmeal boxes are also good shipping containers. Any round cardboard cylinder item like that has really strong walls, keep everything intact and are easy to ship.

TooMuchCake Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 6:07pm
post #13 of 20

I support troops through, and they instruct the troops to discard any items that are home made if they don't personally know the sender. Times are scary and the troops need to be careful. So, if you're adopting a soldier sight-unseen, he or she won't be allowed to eat anything not prepackaged.
Scroll down to "Things NOT to Send."


aztomcat Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 6:08pm
post #14 of 20

I have a few of those too. Great ideas for shipping. Thanks

aztomcat Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 6:16pm
post #15 of 20


In this case I've been supporting them for 3 months and chat by email once a week with the Staff Sargent. That is the only reason He is okay with sweets from me.

That is a great point though. Previously everything as been pre-packaged.


heavensgaits Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 7:26pm
post #16 of 20

Here's the recipe I have for Pecan Pralines. I've not made it yet, but my best friends mom used to make them using this recipe and she says they are out of this world good.

Buttermilk Pecan Praline Candy
3 c Sugar
1 ts Baking Soda
1 Pinch Of Salt
1 c Buttermilk
3/4 c White Corn Syrup
2 tb Butter
2 c Pecan Halves

In a large saucepan, (5 or 6 Quart size)
combine sugar, baking soda, salt, buttermilk
and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring
constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, continue
cooking until mixture becomes caramel-colored
and reaches soft ball stage (238øF). Remove
from heat, add butter and pecan halves. Beat
until thick enough to drop from a spoon onto
waxed paper. If mixture becomes too hard,
return to heat and add small amount of water.
Stir until smooth. Yield: 44 to 48 Pralines.
*** Variation ***
Reduce sugar to 2 cups. Omit corn syrup.
Increase butter to 3/4 cup, add 1 teaspoon
vanilla. Include butter in cooking stage.
Add vanilla with pecans.

aztomcat Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 8:42pm
post #17 of 20

Thanks Heavens. It sounds pretty easy

vickymacd Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 9:01pm
post #18 of 20

First off, from a military Mom, I thank you and all who are sending things to our Military!
BUT.....most packages are sent to NY and then onto Iraq. It takes only 5-7 days to get there. NOT 3 weeks!!

I too have adopted these guys (120 of them!). I have sent everything from brownies, cakes in a jar, candies (they pass these out to the Iraqi children and they keep eyes out for them); cookies, bagels, beef jerky, cleaning things (Febreeze! stinky boots and uniforms); to a pool table, play balls and checkers sets I found at the dollar store.
I put everything in my food sealer. My son said he forgot about a package I sent him since he was on a mission, and 3 weeks later it was as fresh as ever!
To be honest, these guys would eat anything from home. Nothing is unwanted although my son did say some guys are a little freakish about homemade items. This would be better homemade only if you personally know someone and they okay the items from you.
I just ordered some oreo molds and am sending a ton of choc. oreos, pretzels, etc. and Christmas decorations out. Found out my son is coming home before Christmas, so everything I would have sent to his company I am sending out to the replacements!
Thank you all and Happy Holidays.

aztomcat Posted 19 Nov 2008 , 7:02am
post #19 of 20

vicky, thanks for your ideas. My stuff has taken longer to arrive for some reason.

I hope you enjoy having your son home for Christmas. What a treat.

sweetisome Posted 20 Nov 2008 , 7:56pm
post #20 of 20

When My husband was in Iraq I sent him a cake in a jar for his birthday. It quite simple is the recipe...

*****Cake in a Jar

Advice on baking cake in jars. You can use any cake recipe for this. Makes 8 pints straight-sided wide-mouth caning jars (8 servings). Do not put frosting in the jars. Do not use more than one cup of batter per jar! Do not change the oven temperature!

1package of yellow/white cake mix. 8 wide -mouth pint canning jars with lids and rings


1. Prepare the cake according to package instructions, or use any cake recipe.

2. In pint size , straight-sided wide-mouth jars, put 1 cup of batter in each greased jar. (use spray Pam) Make sure to keep the rims of the jars clean. Put in preheated oven 350 degrees F. Place jars on a cookie sheet to keep from tipping over while baking.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

4. While they are baking, have your jar lids boiling in a pan of water. When cake is done, take one jar out at a time and add the hot lid and screw on your jar ring and let set and cool.

5. It will seal as it cools. Place the jars on the counter and listen for them to "ping" as they seal. If you miss the "ping", wait until they are completely cool and press on the top of the lid. If it doesn't move at all, it's sealed.

6. After it cools it will pull away from the jar and when you are ready to eat, open and pop out the cake slice it and enjoy.

You can make banana nut bread, fruit cake, date nut bread, brownies, (a package of brownie mix makes 4 jars), carrot cake and pound cake. I sent a can of frosting to Bill for his carrot cakes and a can of choclate syrup for his brownies.

I wrapped each jar in extra bubble wrap and nothing broke. I sent this to Bill for his birthday. I'm sending brownies again and pineapple upside down cake next time.

My friend made these cakes and sold them at flea markets and festival events. She had cakes to last 1 year in their jars.****

I know mixes aren't exactly the way things are always done around here, but the goodies stay fresh, and the guys love 'em.

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