Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Another care package for a sailor

A few months ago, you might remember we sent Younger Daughter a care package consisting of many bags of dehydrated vegetables to enjoy while she's on deployment.

Younger Daughter has a passion for mangoes, so last time I was in the city I picked her up a few pounds of dehydrated mangoes. They've been sitting in the kitchen for about a month. Finally I sent her a message: "I still haven't shipped your box with the mangoes. I have plenty of room for something else to pack in the box. What else would you like me to send? No sense wasting the space."

She replied that she wanted some fry sauce (eww, whatever), and then added: "Would you be willing to try making some cookies? We got some homemade cookies from a third-grade class a while back, and they actually shipped really well – they wrapped them in plastic wrap and they were still soft. My favorites are snickerdoodles and your peanut butter cookies. I asked around and general comments included 'snickerdoodles and anything lemon' so the guys in my shop would be eternally grateful."

Later she added a plea on behalf of one of her fellow sailors: "By the way, Juan likes oatmeal raisin, and I wholeheartedly agree with him – would you be willing to swap out one of the other types for some oatmeal? We'll all love you forever as the bestest mom. Plus he's Juan, he's all of our favorites. And his family sends him the chocolate macadamia nuts that he shares with all of us, so I figure I owe him one."

So there you go. Suddenly I had cookie requests from everyone in Younger Daughter's shop. Time to get baking.

Out came a bunch of cookbooks and recipe sheets as I prepped for a marathon in the kitchen.

The making of these cookies spanned about a week. I started with a quadruple batch of lemon cookies, which are dusted with powdered sugar.

I bagged these up and tucked them in the freezer to stay fresh while I concentrated on other things.

I made the dough for peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles, then put the dough in plastic tubs and tucked it in the refrigerator, with baking hints taped on top (375F, bake 7-8 minutes), while I made oatmeal-raisin cookies for Juan.

On baking day, I cleared off the table and set out every cooling rack I owned.

First batch of snickerdoodles, ready for the oven.

Snickerdoodles, peanut butter...

I had an appreciative audience underfoot.

This is the "stacking" stage. Almost done.

Shipping materials.

Box 1: A bag of dried mangoes and two bottles of fry sauce (eew, whatever).

I stapled warnings on the lemon cookies because they contain walnuts. I'd hate for someone with a nut allergy to eat one.

I tried not to crush the cookies as I packed them, but I have a feeling a fair number will arrive in crumb form. Oh well.

Whenever I came across some Sunday comics, I laid them uncrumpled across the top of the box so they could get passed around and enjoyed.

It took five boxes to pack everything.

I hope Juan enjoys his cookies.


  1. When I sent cookies to Afghanistan I packed them in peanut butter jars. They fit in perfectly and I just stacked them. I also used dehydrated peanut butter jars, chocolate nuts and raisin containers from Costco. They stayed soft and didn’t break. Thank you for treating our sailors so well!

  2. You are awesome. I did boxes for my son in the Navy. Never had any requests from his co-workers. I now bake for the Mayor, Fire dept and Police. Small town, small baking.

  3. What a great mom! I know it will be like Christmas when those arrive.

  4. Your daughter, along with her friends, will be thrilled with those goodies.

  5. Pringles cans work great too. Also, I used to pack cookies back to back wrapped in cupcake papers then in tins. Also, bar cookies pack and ship very well and most cookie recipes can be adapted to that form. You are a great Mom and all your effort will be greatly appreciated

  6. My sister and I sent cookies often during the year my son was deployed to Iraq. He said some arrived broken and maybe a little bit stale, but he assured me that there were no complaints!

  7. I’ve heard of stacking cookies in Pringles containers for shipping. I suppose that would require one to buy Pringles though. Guessing they’ll be eaten and enjoyed no matter what form they arrive in!

  8. You're a nice lady. God bless you!

  9. They will be loved because they are from home!

  10. Popped popcorn makes great packing material for cookies. I’ve found the key is having no room in the containers and box for the cookies to move around and break.

  11. When son number one went off to the Air force I sent a tin of homemade chocolate chip cookies. They arrived all in pieces but he ate them none the less. I asked around and someone told me to ship them in pop corn. I would get the box and place a new and clean shopping plastic bag to line the box. Then put in a layer of popcorn. I used carmel corn (microwave type) then a layer of cookies, pop corn, cookies, kinda like lasagna. Last layer would be popcorn then I would tie it off with the bag handles. I would stuff the corners on top with some packing material or anything to make sure nothing sloshed around. Son said that package arrived with only 1 cookie broken in half. The popcorn made an additional snack. When son number 2 had also gone in the Air Force, I did the same thing. Worked every time.
    I wrote to you on that last care package you sent and told you that requests would come in. I told you so, but it is fun to do. They really love stuff from home. Time to hit that thrift shop for extra cooling racks. They love it when someone gets a care package, when one arrives they all want to see what that person got and of course is willing to share for which they are.

  12. Years ago my stepbrother was stationed in Europe. His mom (my stepmom) every year would bake and make all kinds of Christmas goodies, fudge, divinity, choc. bon bons, rice crispie treats, oatmeal cookies, etc. Each cookie was wrapped in plastic wrap and put in a coffeecan or Christmas tin(usually plastic). Then these were packed in a box together and shipped.

    When we joined the family we got the Christmas goodies. Large box full and they arrived in one piece and lasted quite a while (if they didn't get eaten first). One thing she said was that the shipping was better priced on the larger box rather than several smaller ones.

    I miss my stepmom but I have all of her recipes.

    kathy in MS

  13. If you know anyone who eats Pringle or something similar those tube type things are the best for shipping. I've also used Gatorade containers. As a former traveler of the world thanks to my government job type just make sure Avery crevice is filled. The cookies look yummy!

  14. Military wife here. My husband loves soft cookies and scones whenever he's deployed.

    I have found the best way to ship them is to put them in an even layer on a paper plate, add a piece of bread (keeps things from getting stale), another layer of cookies, inverted paper plate, and then vacuum seal this weird paper plate sandwich.

    You'd probably need to trim the edges of the paper plate to fit into your vacuum seal bags, but if you use the good quality ones, it keeps things from getting crushed/crumbled (acts like a clamshell type case), the bread keeps everything fresh and even if it take 3 weeks to get there, they look and taste like they were made yesterday.