This is a Valentine’s Day themed care package for someone I don’t know. Red hearts, love notes, and roses were not appropriate. I struggled for a while, trying to figure out what to include in this military care package that would convey my Valentine’s Day message of caring and support. Not surprisingly, I decided to express my support in cookie form. Valentine Envelope Sugar Cookies are sealed with a red heart for caring and a yellow “Support our Troops” ribbon.
Some people think Valentine’s Day is about love, but for many people, Valentine’s Day is all about the chocolate. Soon it will be too hot in Afghanistan to include chocolate in military care packages, so I took this February opportunity to go a bit overboard filling this box with a St. Chocolate’s Day focus.
Part 1 Care Package Contents: Attempting to emphasize the caring hearts and yellow support ribbon idea, I lined the packing box with hearts cut from rainbow striped paper, and taped a yellow ribbon to each.
The box was loaded with as much chocolate candy as possible, and needed very little tissue paper filler. I took a “one of each” approach when it came to deciding what kinds of candy bars to buy. The sweet Valentine gorilla was an impulse buy from the Dollar Store. I remembered that Operation Gratitude includes little stuffed mascots in all of their military care packages and they are big time experts, having shipped more than a million boxes. I followed their lead. This little gorilla was destined to warm military hearts in Afghanistan.
Part 2 Circle Sugar Cookies: I know. The cookies this month aren’t circles. Circles, having no corners, are less breakable when shipping, but this month I am sharing iced rectangles. The whole truth is that I made circle cookies also. Though they made it into the care package, I wasn’t happy enough with how they looked to share the design. However, these Valentine Envelope Sugar Cookies are so simple, they are fool proof.
I used one batch of vanilla dough. The 12 cookies for this care package used 1 batch of faux royal icing. Almost all of the icing was white. First, I removed about ¾ cup of icing when it was thick enough for outlining. One tablespoon of the thick icing was colored yellow and placed it in a piping bag with a tiny round tip. The rest of the thick icing was left white and placed in a piping bag with a small round tip. The remaining icing was thinned to a flooding consistency and placed in a piping bag with a slightly larger round tip.
All of the cookies were outlined first in the thicker white icing around the outer edge. The outline was allowed to set slightly for about 30 minutes before flooding the outlined rectangle. While the flooded icing was setting for an additional hour, I piped yellow ribbons onto 12 heart sprinkles. Once the flooded icing had set for an hour, the thicker white icing was used to create the lines on the back of an envelope and the heart sprinkles with yellow ribbons were pressed onto the tip of the envelope flap.
Always allow iced sugar cookies to air dry overnight to allow the icing to harden before packing. I used plastic wrap to wrap Valentine Envelope Cookies in pairs, with bottoms together. The wrapped bundles are then placed snuggly in a column in a freezer weight gallon zip lock bag.
Part 3 New Recipe: Kiss Cookies were the new recipe included in this box. The two dozen Kiss Cookies were festively sprinkled and definitely appropriately chocolaty. Soldier B. mentioned that he especially likes chocolate-mint. So, I stuffed the cookies with mint truffle Kisses. After baking, each cookie was dipped in a generous coating of chocolate then topped with sprinkles. Plenty of chocolaty celebration.
This military care package required adapting. Valentines aren’t usually given to strangers. Valentine Envelope Cookies are usually made for loved ones with plain sprinkle hearts sealing the flap. These cookies don’t need yellow ribbons of support, but our soldiers do.