These Caramel Crunch Blondies are a great way to use up Halloween Candy…and they stay soft and chewy for days!
Happy Veterans Day! I want to thank all of you who have served our country, who are currently serving, and the families too. You all sacrifice so much for our safety. An especially big hug goes out to my dad and my father-in-law, both of whom are Vietnam veterans.
Desert Storm happened when I was in middle school. I don’t remember much about it (what 12 year old pays attention to the news?) but what I do remember is having a pen pal. Sergeant Gonzolez and I wrote back and forth for several months, until I assume he was sent home.
If we’re being totally honest, I *think* I may have been a wee bit smitten with my solider. I had grand visions of him returning home and finding me. There *may* have been wedding plans involved. But, I was 12 and he was an adult, probably married with kids, and shortly after our correspondence ended I realized Joey McIntyre was my true love, so I stopped thinking about Sgt. Gonzolez in that way.
One of the things I remember vividly about our pen pal letters was that he sent me some Iraqi sand. He emptied out a mini tabasco bottle and filled it with sand and mailed it to me. It’s still at my mom’s house in her china cabinet, and it’s a wonderful memory of a pen pal program that was so important to the soldiers of that time.
So when my friend Betsy, from Java Cupcake, started a care package program for her husband who recently deployed, I jumped at the chance to join in. It’s my small (minuscule, really) chance to give back to those that give so much for us.
I knew I was going to bake for our care package (duh, this is me we’re talking about!) so I had to do some research and thinking about what to send. Sometimes packages can take weeks to be delivered so you have to send something that will last. Also, it gets pretty hot there and with all the transportation, nothing should be sent that can get too melty. After thinking about it for awhile, I knew I wanted to make these Caramel Crunch Blondies for our care package. I know the soldiers are going to love them!
These blondies are perfect for long-distance travel. When wrapped with plastic wrap and sealed in a ziploc container, they last a really long time. What’s the secret to super soft blondies? Brown sugar. Lots and lots and lots of it!
These blondies are the same base that I used to make these Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Toffee Blondies, and Nutter Butter Butterscotch Blondies. You really cannot go wrong with these – no matter how you cook them and what you add, they turn out fabulous every time. Plus, they come together in just one bowl and you can be eating blondies in under an hour…unless you’re deployed. Then you have to wait for the mail.
When I asked Facebook what else I should include in a care package, one of the overwhelming responses was to send a letter. I immediately thought of my pen pal days and decided to ask Jordan’s teacher to help out. Each child in her class made a Thanksgiving card to send in the care package, to go along with our theme of “We are thankful for you” in honor of Thanksgiving this month.
I had Jordan decorate the inside of the box. We used construction paper and decorated each flap with our theme.
Betsy’s husband had mentioned that their “fresh” food supply wasn’t good. So I decided to send a bunch of canned goods, including Spam, and some canned bean salad, fruit, tuna, and other vegetables. Did you know that you can use the large priority mail box at the USPS and fill it as heavy as you want, and it’s less than $13 to send the care package? I stuffed that thing so full I could barely lift it!
We added some gum and Red Vines to fill in the holes, and Jolly Ranchers for padding across the top. No bubble wrap was needed for that package, no sir!
It really felt good to put something like this together. And when I realized how cheap it was, I realized I want to do it again. It’s so easy to make someone’s day…even on the other side of the world. If you’re interested in sending a care package, check out Java Cupcake for all the details. She has all the fun information on the care packages that have been sent to her husband, and if you are interested in sending something she has a form you can fill out so she can connect you with a platoon in need.
So many men and women will be without their families this Thanksgiving, so it felt good to do just a little something to make it better.
I often wonder what Sergent Gonzalez is doing today. If I could meet him, I’d make him some blondies.
Thanks for reading!
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