I use the recipes off the packages of chocolate chips and oats. If you do not have time to bake from scratch, “extra moist” or cake mix that contains pudding makes a very good cookie. The basic recipe is 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 2 large eggs per box. You can be creative by adding Rice Krispies, raisins, white chocolate chips, M&M’s, etc. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes (but underbake at least one minute).
If you send peanut butter cookies or any cookies that contain nuts, please label each bag “contains nuts.”
Underbake the cookies about one minute to preserve the freshness.
In humid environments, add 1/2-1 tsp. of baking powder per batch.
Chocolate chip (substitute with M&M’s May-October), oatmeal-raisin, peanut butter and snickerdoodles are the most popular cookies.
Freeze the cookies until you are ready to ship them.
Avoid sending moist breads (such as banana bread) during humid summer months–they mold quickly.
I use regular fold-top sandwich bags, no zip-locks. Put 6 cookies front to back in the bags and twist-tie them. It will look something like a “tube.” Be generous with your packing material which can be Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, plastic grocery bags, or shredded paper. Nest the cookies in the packing material. With careful packing, you can get 10-12 dozen cookies in each box.
Any toiletries should be packed in separate boxes from the cookies.
Include notes to the soldiers thanking them for their service to the country. Ask them for names and addresses of other soldiers, especially those who get little/no mail.
Due to the large number of boxes we send and the increase in postage, for individual requests we are using the new Flat Rate Box #1 which measures 12x12x5 1/2. The Large Flat Rate boxes for Military are $17.40. These “Priority Mail” boxes, the customs forms (I use 2976-A) and pre-printed return address labels come in units of 25 and are available at no charge. Simply go to the USPS website or call 1-800-222-1811. These supplies will be delivered to you at no charge. For only a few boxes and customs forms, visit your local Post Office.
Once the box is full, shake it to ensure that nothing is moving. Add more packing if necessary, especially in the corners.
Make sure that all boxes are securely taped. Seal all edges of the box.
You must have the name and address of a specific soldier.
A customs form is required. On form 2976-A there is a space asking what you want to happen to the box if your soldier is not available. I check “abandon.” Also write in, “Do not return.” Your postal employees will assist you in filling out the form if necessary. I suggest you have your box ready for shipment before you get to the Post Office. It is not necessary to leave the box unsealed for inspection by the postal employees.
Some restrictions: No alcohol, no pornographic or suggestive materials, no pork, no bulk shipments of religious material. If in doubt, check with your Post Office.
If the cookies are too hard by the time of arrival overseas, the soldiers can use them as weapons.