Last week - Thursday or Friday, I think it was, I got an email from Susan of She's Becoming DoughMessTic.
I wasn't the only one she'd sent this to - there were about twenty or so of us on the list.
And she mentioned a cousin who is now stationed in Iraq, and would we be at all interested in baking a batch of cookies each, and sending them to her cousin over there for him to share with the other members of his division. And could we all maybe ship them out the following Tuesday or Wednesday?
I wrote back immediately to say I was in, and told her about my nephew in the Air Guard who has just recently (and unexpectedly) gone to Afghanistan after already completing his tour in Iraq. And could we maybe send cookies to him next? Or soon?
And that's how it started for me. Just that one email from Susan. And now - within less than a week, we are a fast-growing group, Susan's created a website just for this project - Operation Baking GALS - (GALS stands for Give A Little Support), and who knows what's next. Other than more and more batches of cookies.
If you're interested in participating, go on over to the Operation Baking GALS site to get more details, or send Susan an email at bakingGALS at gmail dot com.
I baked a batch of Snickerdoodles to send for this first shipment. I haven't made them in years, and I'm not sure why I picked them except that they are simple and smell fabulous while they're cooking, and they smell of home. Vanilla. Cinnamon. Close your eyes and breathe deeply - home.
Here's the recipe I used. It's from an old Better Homes and Gardens "Homemade Cookies" book I've had for ages.
If you'd like to bake up a batch of these, here's what you'll need:
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
and for the cinnamon/sugar - 2 T sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
Oops, almost forgot the egg...
Anyway, all you do is, first, cream the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl. Then add in the egg, vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar, and about half of the flour. Mix well. Then stir in the remainder of the flour until it's just combined - you don't want the gluten in the flour getting all strong and elastic as you would for a bread.
Next, scrape the dough into a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate about an hour.
When the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine 2 T granulated sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
Form little balls with the dough, about an inch in diameter (I made mine smaller - about 3/4 of an inch) and then roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place on a parchment-lined baking pan.
Bake about 10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown.
Allow to cool completely before packaging.
*If necessary, like if you have errands to run and you don't want your family to eat them while you're gone, even though they've been told not to, it's maybe a good idea to leave a few - SPECIALLY MARKED for your family (particularly if you have young children who might not get the whole "for someone else" notion, especially when the cookies are RIGHT THERE, within easy reach). That's what I did.
And it worked.
The cookies on the top were untouched when I got back home.
Amazingly, there were still three left below.
That was yesterday.
This morning, Julia and I brought the cookies (from the top rack) to the post office and shipped them out.
I hope they make it over okay.
And by the way, Susan?
Brilliant and beautiful idea you had, there!
You have a huge heart. (I was going to say a heart of gold, but considering the baking theme, it's more like sparkling sugar.)
Anyway, again, if any of you reading this are interested in participating, head on over to the website - Operation Baking GALS - and sign on!