Tips for Baking, Packing, and Sending Cookies to Troops

Looking for a way to say thank you to our military personnel? Shipping some homemade cookies to a troop is always a great way to show you care! However, since your cookies will be traveling long distances, there is some important information you need to know about how to bake and pack them so they survive the trip.

Baking tips.

  • To avoid mold, use white sugar instead of brown sugar, honey, molasses, or corn syrup. Soft or undercooked cookies are also likely to get moldy on the longer trips.
  • Refrain from sending foods containing chocolate, since there is the possibility that they could melt.
  • Dense and dry baked goods, like biscotti, nut bars, shortbread, and gingersnaps, ship the best.
  • Cookies with fruit stay moist because of the fruit.
  • Don’t send cookies with custards, icings, or special toppings—they’ll spoil easily.

Packing tips.

  • Pack your cookies in metal food tins, or in plastic boxes or bags that seal tightly. Do not use containers that may break, like glass.
  • Line the container with parchment paper, and add parchment paper in between your cookie layers as well.
  • Be generous with your packing material, which can be Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, plastic grocery bags, or shredded paper.
  • Put your packing material along the bottom of your box, then place your cookie container on that layer, and surround the remaining space with the rest. Once the box is full, shake it to ensure that nothing is moving. Add more packing if necessary, especially in the corners.
  • Make sure to seal your box securely with packing tape.

Sending tips.

  • The United States Postal Service is the only mail service allowed to send packages to stationed troops. International rates do not apply to military mail delivery. Use a USPS Priority APO/FPO/DPO box to ship items overseas.
  • Never send homemade goods to soldiers you don’t personally know. If you plan to send homemade cookies or treats, you must have the name and address of an individual soldier. Troops are instructed to throw away homemade food from people they don’t know. If you don’t know anyone and really would like to help out, do an online search for groups that you can join and become a volunteer baker for participating troops.
  • The address should be printed clearly and readable from over a foot away. Cover the label with clear tape.
  • Make sure your package is labeled “Fragile” and  “Perishable Food.”
  • You will need to fill out the US customs form PS 2976-A.

Sweet Chili Garlic Baked Ham

Goodbye, boring honey baked ham (and all those pineapples) and say hello to this sweet and spicy show stopper! A simple homemade sweet chili garlic sauce is the perfect glaze for your holiday ham.

Serves 6–8

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 spiral sliced ham

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, whisk together the sweet chili sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Place the ham in a roasting pan, coat with the sauce, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil, and increase the temperature to 425°F. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, and roast for 10–12 minutes or until the sauce caramelizes slightly and the ham is hot throughout. Serve warm.

Tip: This recipe falls on the medium heat spectrum. Remove a teaspoon of the crushed red pepper flakes or add a teaspoon for either mild or hot.


Make this sweet and spicy ham for your next party, and be sure to check out americanlifestylemag.com/bites for more holiday recipes!