The Toll House Test Kitchen has modified favorite Toll House recipes to withstand the desert heat and to meet the restrictions of the Middle East countries. Middle East countries prohibit the following because they are contrary to the Islamic religion:

  • • pork or pork by-products
  • • alcoholic beverages (or items containing any alcohol, including vanilla)
  • • allspice or nutmeg, which are considered aphrodisiacs

A card should be included with the package stating that the products were made following these guidelines.

Ingredients that Hold Up
To ensure that baked goods will withstand the high desert heat, please follow these tips:

  • • No butter, margarine, peanut butter or nuts should be used. These fats go rancid too fast in high heat. Butter flavored vegetable shortening is a better alternative.
  • • No brown sugar, corn sugar, honey, or molasses should be used. The baked goods will be too soft and possibly become moldy. Only white table sugar should be used.
  • • Chocolate and butterscotch can be used in baked goods. Once chocolate has been baked into the product and has the chance to take up moisture from the batter, the chocolate will stay rather firm.
  • • Baked goods should be wrapped in tightly sealed Ziploc baggies to secure contents from sand and rain.
  • • Pack goodies in sturdy boxes and surround them with foam packaging material or bubble wrap to prevent shifting. Avoid "packing peanuts", as the heat and static cling makes them impossible to clean up.
  • • Label packages properly and list all contents.

Post Office care package restrictions. Click here.

Addressing Your Package
  • • Please address the package to a specific person. The U.S. Postal Service will not accept mail addressed to "Any Serviceman". The U.S. Department of Defense recommends visiting www.defendamerica.mil and clicking the "Support Our Troops" icon to find out ways to support service members.
  • • Family members who send regular mail need to use the soldier's full name (without rank), unit and APO address, and include a return address.
  • • Families should not put the country or the base camp's city on the mail, officials said, because it might get sent through the host country's mail system.
  • • Most areas of the Middle East have been authorized Free Mail for personal correspondence being sent from the service member overseas back to the U.S. However, family members sending mail to service members in a free mail zone must still include postage.

Bar cookies and brownies are the best bets for safe packing and are quickest for baking large quantities.

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