The Ultimate Mailable Treat? MRE Brownies, Made Better

Leite's Culinaria

2011_05_24-Brownies.jpgWant to mail someone a treat? Not sure what will stand up to a long trip in a cardboard box and summer weather? Perhaps you're even mailing a care package to a friend or family member overseas in the military? Well, we have just the thing for you. These brownies are guaranteed to hold up for a long trip — they're based on the Army's MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) brownie recipe — but they're way, way tastier. I met David Leite of Leite's Culinaria last weekend at the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta. I was telling him how much I enjoy the writing on the site, and he mentioned this favorite piece by Garrett McCord. Garrett, said David, had tested brownie after brownie to find out which would hold up best during overseas transportation. The result had apparently become something of a viral hit among military families.

Garrett's boyfriend is in the military, and when he shipped out for 12 months, Garrett decided to decode the Army's 26-page formula for MRE-acceptable brownies so he could bake a good pan of brownies for a care package. You really must check out this Army document; it has bits like,

1.2 Classification. The product shall be of the following types as specified (see 6.1):
Type I - Brownies, chocolate covered
Type II - Oatmeal cookies, chocolate covered

There also are apparently "U.S. Standards for Shelled English Walnuts" and such. All to make a brownie that was all but inedible. It could survive a bomb, and 6 weeks of transit to Iraq, but it certainly wasn't up to Garrett's culinary standards.

He set to work creating a brownie that could sit out for days with no discernable diminishment of quality and taste, and he feels that he succeeded. Check out his whole story and the recipe at Leite's Culinaria:

Get the recipe: Care Package Brownies Recipe and read Garrett's story: Feeding an Army at Leite's Culinaria

Have you ever baked for a friend or family member in the military or overseas? What kind of recipes travel best? I'd love to hear your stories of what worked, and what didn't, when mailing edible care packages.

Related: What Are the Best Baked Treats for Shipping?

(Image: Garrett McCord/Leite's Culinaria)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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