Sunday, September 28, 2008

Operation Baking GALS

Operation Baking GALS began as one baker's request for help to send baked goods to her cousin in Iraq and the rest of his division and has grown into many, many bakers joining in on the cause and sending loads of baked goods to soldiers who are defending our freedom on a daily basis. The full story of its inception can be found here.

My friend Danielle of Make No Little Meals approached me and a few other mutual friends about participating in this worthy cause and we agreed of course! So this past week we, as members of Team Adrienne's House, Danielle, myself, and our friends Lindsay and Nikki got together at Nikki's house (due to her having the fabbest kitchen among the 4 of us! Thanks, Nik, for hosting!) to bake our little hearts out for Sgt Mark Martin of Chatswort, Georgia stationed at Camp Victory in Iraq and on his THIRD tour.

Yes, I said his third tour. Did I mention yet that he is a father of 3? If we can do nothing else to thank Sgt. Martin but to send him some baked goods, why wouldn't we? He obviously is making so many sacrifices for his country and this is one way we can show our appreciation.

So what did we make?

Danielle made chocolate rice crispy treats, and 2 kinds of biscotti, Nikki made banana walnut bread, Lindsay made oatmeal raisin & craisin cookies, and pumpkin chocolate chip clusters, and I made quick chocolate softies, and oatmeal brownie gems (well, Lindsay helped me a lot with these since she did some pre-baking - thank you, Linds!). My two recipes come out of my favorite cookie book "Best Loved Cookies" straight out of the "Almost Homemade" section. Since we were going to have a lot going in on the kitchen I wanted to try to have my recipes be as simple and speedy as possible.

My two recipes follow, along with some pictures of our adventures in the kitchen. We had a fun time together but the most important thing is that we got together for this really great cause. We hope Sgt. Martin and his guys enjoy what we made for them!

Here we are! Members of "Team Adrienne's House" - me, Lindsay, Nikki, & Dani - a big thanks to Dani for getting us all together to do this!

Quick Chocolate Softies
(from "Best Loved Cookies")

1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Combine cake mix, water, butter, and egg in a large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium; beat 1 minute (dough will be thick). Stir in chips and nuts; mix until well blended.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until set. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 1 minute, remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Oatmeal Brownie Gems
(from “Best Loved Cookies”)

2 ¼ cups quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I omitted)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 ¾ cup M&M’s mini baking bits (I used regular M&Ms)
1 (19-21oz) pkg fudge brownie mix, prepared according to package directions for fudge-like brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl combine oats, flour, sugar, nuts, and baking soda; add butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Toss in M&M’s until evenly distributed. Reserve 3 cups mixture (we just eyed it and put about ½ of the mixture aside).

Pat remaining mixture onto the bottom of a 15x10x1 inch pan to form crust. Pour prepared brownie mix over crust, carefully spreading into thin layer. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top of brownie batter; pat down lightly.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely; cut into bars.

Dani packing up
our goodies!
Looks at all that yumminess - ready to get boxed up
& sent to Sgt Martin!!


Bridget said...

Three tours....what a sacrifice he and his family are making! You guys did a great job!

That Girl said...

I'm sure he's going to really appreciate the love you girls put into this.

Cooking and the City said...

everything looks so good, what a great cause :-)