After I started The Postcard Project, I went to anysoldier.com and got the address for a female soldier in Afghanistan that I could correspond with. (If you don’t know any soldiers that are currently serving, I recommend this site–it’s the only place I’ve found where you can get an address for a soldier you don’t know.) Through our letters, I have come to understand how important mail is to soldiers. I was moved by how happy I could make this woman just by sending her a few pages of my craziness, blabbing about things most people could care less about. When she replied with her gratitude, answering all the questions I had asked and telling me about herself, I felt the connection we had made, all thanks to the Postal Service and the exchange of a few letters.
I asked her in my first letter if there was anything I could send her to make her happier while she was serving overseas. She replied, much to my glee, that her team (I love how she said “her team” and not “I”–it just shows how selfless soldiers are) loves snacks, especially homemade, and if I could send some that would be great, but if not, “the letters are great also, it shows that someone really cares and values what we are doing.”
I don’t think she had any idea how happy her request for homemade snacks would make me. Anysoldier.com tells us not to send homemade goodies if the soldiers do not know us (for safety reasons, most likely), so I had not hoped that I could take my baking love out on her. But she must have felt like she knew me after only one letter, and I couldn’t have been more delighted by her request. My favorite way to make people happy is by making them goodies, so I literally was jumping up and down and squealing to my husband “she wants homemade snacks!!!” like I had just gotten a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Chrstimas. I think it makes me happier to make and give the treats than it makes the people who receive them!
I did some research and found a good article on the best cookies to ship long distances, and macaroons were listed as a cookie that gets better with time, so I immediately decided I would be including some macaroons in the boxes. (Yes, there were more than one. I couldn’t help myself.)
So along with a batch of homemade butterfingers and 3 pounds of seasoned crackers, I included a tin of these chocolate chip macaroons. I had saved a very simple & easy (also multiple blue ribbon-winning) recipe using sweetened condensed milk, and I kicked them up a notch by adding in some mini chocolate chips…because chocolate makes everything better.
These were wonderful fresh from the oven, and as promised by the article mentioned above, did taste even better the next day! They are moist and chewy–nice and soft when warm from the oven, and more dense & rich the next day. Hopefully they were like bites of nirvana by the time they made it to Jacqueline and her team, and from the feedback I got, they must have been close!
Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Printable recipe with picture
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 oz) package sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla, then stir in the coconut and chocolate chips with a spoon or your hands until well blended. The mixture will be very sticky. Refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat to prevent sticking (like I said, this dough is sticky!). Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted. Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag(s).
Recipe source: adapted from Allrecipes
I think that macaroons are my favorite cookie. I love them all but these would win for sure. So glad you were able to send these! I’m sure they will be greatly appreciated!!
Yum! My husband is CRAZY about macaroons! I will be bookmarking this yummy recipe!
Thanks for sharing your experience with our military men and women. I can understand how you would be so excited about being able to give something back! Anyone who receives these cookies will be very lucky, and very happy!
Thanks for sharing the website that linked you with Jacqueline — I’m going to check that out! You are such a sweetheart for doing this…your treats would brighten anyone’s day and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than our troops. Hopefully others will follow your lead!
It’s so great that you were able to send something you love–and that she loved! Having two army brother-in-laws, this especially warms my heart.
I treasure that website! That is awesome that you’ve connected with Jacqueline and become friends. They do love getting things overseas, I’ve received many letters and it always amazes me that they treasure the smallest things that we take for granted. I’m glad you could share your love for baking and I’m sure they were thrilled :)
I was glad to see butterfingers on that list because I waited a couple weeks before sending Dillon’s package back because I thought it was going to cost me again, (thankfully it didn’t), and I certainly wasn’t going to make butterfingers again after my first failure…ha ha ha! ;)
As mother to three kids who have served, and a 15 year old who is planning on it, all I can say is bless you for reaching out to the troops <3 – and the cookies sound delicious!
You’re just such a sweetie-pie, Veronica. We can all be good patriotic citizens in any way we can. Jacqueline and her team are lucky, and I’m proud to have a bloggie friend like you. :-)
Thank you so much for posting this information. We had a rough week as we lost our two pugs in our neighborhood. After moping for several days, I thought my kids and I needed to do something to feel better. After reading your blog, we went on the any soldier website. We were so excited that we went shopping and have two packages (one for males and one for females) along with letters everyone in our family wrote. We’ll be sending them out tomorrow. So because of you, more soldiers are receiving goodies! Oh and we found our dogs today. Maybe karma does exist!
This was so heartwarming and uplifting to hear! I’m so glad I gave you an idea to boost your spirits, and sooo glad your pugs are back at home! I would be devestating if my Jessie were missing! Thank you for telling me this. :)
Thanks for sharing the solider website! It’s SO hard to pick one!!
I know! I tried to pick one that was a little older and hadn’t been picked too many times before, since there’s less liklihood of that person being picked again (people tend to look at the newer sign-ups). That’s my only recommendation!
they look delicious and the pictures were really good.
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YUMMMMM Just made these and they are TERIFFIC!!! My tummy is happy!:) ♫♪ •*¨*•♫♪.¸
Wow, you are so fast Mary! I’m glad I helped make your tummy happy. :) And they should be even better tomorrow so try not to eat them all in one sitting! ;)
Veronica, I’m not sure if this will reach you, but this is Jacqueline ( The Soldier you sent the package to), I don’t even know how I found this site, but I’m glad I did. Thank you so much for caring for my team and I at such of critical time. I’m back from overseas duty. I will never forget such of a caring heart like yours.
Wow, what a trip! I’m so glad to hear from you as I’ve thought of you often. Glad you are home safe. God bless you!