This past week, I had the privilege of baking cookies for soldiers stationed over seas. About 2 years ago, I was asked if I could do this by the wife of a retired Army General. My answer was of course. She then asked how many dozen I could commit to. I thought for a moment and responded, 15 dozen. She seemed a bit stunned with my answer, and asked if I was certain, as most people donate 2-3 dozen. I pondered for a moment, doing the math in my head. 15 dozen.... that's like 3 or 4 batches. At Christmas time I make a dozen or so different recipes. Yes, 15 dozen chocolate chip cookies for the soldiers. That's my commitment. If they can commit to doing what they are doing, this is the least I can do for them.
Two or three times per year I receive a call that it is time to send cookies. I usually only make chocolate chip cookies. I pull out all the ingredients, mixer, measuring tools, baking trays, to get ready. I then make one batch at a time (using the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag). I place the prepared dough into a separate bowl, cover an let rest in the refrigerator, then move on to make the next batch of dough. Once I have 4 bowls of cookie dough, I then begin to bake. Having 4 cookies trays makes this go quickly. There are always 2 trays in the oven baking, while I spoon out 2 more - ready to go into the oven. Pull out the baked cookies, in go the next 2 trays. Allow the baked cookies to cool a few minutes before removing to the holding table, spoon out 2 more trays. Keeping the cookie size small is key - about a 3/4 inch ball of dough. One batch of dough makes about 5 dozen cookies. Doing the math, 5 x 4 is 20 dozen. Who eats the other few dozen? Well, who can resist warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven with ice cold milk?