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July 30, 2008
A couple of days ago, I got an email from Susan Whetzel of Doughmesstic saying she'd made the Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops (page 85 in Baking From My Home to Yours; FYI: the oven temperature should be 350 degrees F) and that, even though her husband doesn't like cookies (sounds impossible, I know), he loved these. In fact, she and her husband liked them so much, they decided to send some to Susan's cousin, who, only two months after his first child was born, was posted to Iraq.
And that's the start of a bigger and quite wonderful story.
Because with a baby of her own, a husband and a job, Susan didn't
think she could bake enough cookies for her cousin and his troopmates,
she put out a call for help to her buddies at Tuesdays with Dorie and Daring Bakers.
In an instant, the baking brigade grew (add this to the list of
things proving that bakers are among the world's most generous souls)
and Susan started OPERATION BAKING GALS.
The plan is that once a month the "gals" (an acronym for Give A
Little Support) will bake for one of their friends or relatives
stationed overseas and that everyone will mail their packages at the
Susan's cousin will be the first to get a cookie care package and
Susan tells me she's sending the Whoppers, of course, as well as World Peace Cookies (page 138) because, as she says, "What goes better with a soldier in need than World Peace?"
If you'd like to bake with the gals, sign up here.
| July 30, 2008 7:29 AM
I read this post and immediately went to site and got a huge lump in my throat. What a fabulous idea.
My 84-year old father died suddenly in 2006. My mother had died eleven years earlier, and as an only child, I was left with the task of cleaning out my parents' home in New Jersey.
Close to the end of cleaning out the attic, where everything saved was meticulously stored, I came across a small suitcase under the eaves. I opened it and found two parcels inside. One had my father's first name on it; the other, my mother's. Inside, in chronological order and in perfect condition, were the letters they had written to each other during WWII. You see, my mother was an English war bride. She met my father, who was in the U.S. Coastguard, which was under the auspices of the Navy during the War, in Liverpool at a club the British ran for overseas servicemen. I believe my mother and father, who were married for six months shy of 50 years when my mother died, saw each other in person only three times before they married.
I would love to aid this effort and once a month join these great "GALS" and send a package off. That's where your help comes in.
I'm a really good home cook - and I even make dessert - but I'm not a baker, so to speak. I have every single one of your cookbooks, and I would be grateful if you would suggest a cookie from one of your books that you think would be especially good to package to send overseas. Cat, who gave detailed instructions on how to send things, suggests that particularly hard, crunchy cookies (my favorite) are not the best choice, as they loose some "oomph" when shipped.
I bet a lot of your readers would appreciate this too.
| July 30, 2008 8:10 AM
I have a tip for mailing cookies. I discovered the Food Saver really does the trick. I freeze the cookies (so they don't get turned into hockey pucks) then seal them in the Food Saver bags. They stay fresh and they don't get jostled around and broken. I suppose it's a bit more expensive but I think it's worth it.
| July 30, 2008 9:04 AM
Is there anyone for those of use who faithfully read food blogs but don't "do" a blog to participate? Any ideas on where to find an address where we might bake and send goodies to someone we don't know but who would like to receive a package from home?
| July 30, 2008 10:37 AM
This is a wonderful idea. It is so refreshing to see people like the GALS who care. I belong to the Red Hat Society so I am no stranger to baking food and goodies for a good cause! We hold fund raisers often and bake for others. Keep up the good work!
| July 31, 2008 1:37 PM
This is such a great idea. I'm also wondering, where would you get the names and addresses of people to send to if you do not personally know anyone there?
| July 31, 2008 3:05 PM
What a wonderful idea--thanks for posting about it here! I'm going to sign up and get baking--thanks!
| July 31, 2008 10:05 PM
I just returned yesterday from a trip to Walt Disney World. While at EPCOT, in the French section, my husband purchased for me your Paris Sweets cookbook. It made my vacation! I loved reading it during the time that we were still there and actually couldn't wait to get home to try the recipes.
I made the the first two cookie recipes today. I absolutely loved the Korova Cookies. I can understand what you mean by not trusting yourself to be alone when you make them! I wasn't as crazy about the Punishments and wondered if I did something wrong. The dough was outstanding, but the finished product wasn't the same.
To my delight, I realized that you also wrote another cookbook I purchased six years ago; Waffles from Morning to Midnight. That is a fun cookbook as well, but I don't think that anything could beat the pure joy of reading Paris Sweets! Thanks so much!
| August 6, 2008 5:07 AM
Victoria, thank you so much for sharing that sweet, sweet story about your parents and the letters they exchanged during WWII. Even re-reading it now, I have goosebumps thinking of what it must have been like for you to open the suitcase and find the letters; it's impossible for me to imagine what it must have been like for you to relive your parents' meeting and courtship through those letters. Again, thank you for writing.
About what cookies might be good to send. Victoria asked me to choose one, but, of course, one isn't in my vocabulary (or my nature). I have frozen and/or shipped most of the cookies in Baking From My Home to Yours, although never as far as Iraq, so I’m going to list the ones I think might ship best and leave it to you and the GALS to decide:
My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (these might be a tad fragile), page 68
Chocolate Chunkers, page 70
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters, page 73
Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies, page 77
Peanut Butter Crisscrosses, page 78
Granola Grabbers, page 82
Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops, page 85
Chockablock Cookies, page 86
Lenox Biscotti, page 141
Chocolate Biscotti, page 144
Sarah, FoodSavers sound like a really good way to go. When I pack things in plastic bags, I always suck the air out of them – a kind of homemade food-saver – something that’s easier to do with non-zip-lock bags. I gather the top of the bag, either stick a straw in the bag and pull out the air or actually suck it out, then quickly tie it closed. I then put that bag in another plastic bag and repeat the air-out action. It’s the way I pack things for the freezer and for shipping – it’s not elegant, but it’s worked.
Trish, I think that if you go to Operation Baking GALS, you’ll find someone you can send your sweets to or you can contact Susan, the group’s founder. I think it’s great that you want to do this.
Mandy Leigh, thank you for writing. I’m sure the GALS appreciate your encouragement. I know the Red Hat Society and can only hope that the GALS will have as much fun doing their good work as the Red Hatters do.
Kara, head over to the Operation Baking GALS site and, as I said to Trish, I think you’ll find the name of someone you can bake for or a contact for the group’s founder, Susan. It’s terrific that you want to do this.
Rebecca, I’m sure the GALS will welcome you with open arms.
Gina, merci for your kind words about my books. I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. I’m not surprised that you started with the Korova Cookies – it’s where I think everyone should start in the Paris Sweets book. These are the cookies that were later dubbed World Peace Cookies in Baking From My Home to Yours and,no matter what they’re called, everyone seems to love them.
| November 9, 2008 2:49 PM
I love your book and have read it virtually cover to cover. This weekend was my son's fourth birthday, and the theme was "Curious George Plays Baseball."
I made the Cocoa Buttermilk cake with the chocolate frosting, but I made it in Wilton's "Animal Crackers" pan so it was in the shape of a 'monkey' head. I used a cream cheese frosting in the middle for the tan part and drew on the details of his face with a little of that stuff that comes in the tube.
The second cake, which I decided to make at the last minute because I thought I would need more servings than I had, was your Best Ever Party Cake, the red and white one with the coconut. As a chocoholic, I wasn't really excited about it, but it was a good choice since one of the birthday boys isn't into chocolate (my son and his daddy share a birthday. Dad doesn't do chocolate).
I followed your recipe and it came out perfect. I've never had a layer cake come out so even and sturdy that it handled beautifully as I was slicing it for the layers. The buttercream was fluffy and sturdy and just gorgeous.
Because it was a baseball party, I had a baseball shaped pinata. Looking at the shredded paper that covered it gave me an idea. I colored some of the coconut red and made the cake look like a baseball! Not only that, but the cake was DELICIOUS and I will definitely make it again. It was a 'hit'!
Check out the pictures if you have a moment, and thank you.
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