#GiveAFriendACookie – Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, a take on the chocolate chip cookie with lots of German spices.
Maybe you live, or have family who live, in an area affected by recent hurricanes – Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico. Friends and loved ones might be struggling to rebuild lives in Mexico after the earthquake. Or, maybe you have a connection to the tragic event in Las Vegas or family facing the California fires.
Even watching it all on the news is overwhelming. Giving money, volunteering our time, donating food, donating diapers, donating blood…what else can we do? We can bake.
The world is a crazy place. I’m not sure why, but between hurricanes and shootings and earthquakes life feels heavy. We want to do something but are often unsure of what to do. Sure, you can make donations (money is great, donate away) but often in times like these personal connections are what get us through. It might seem silly, but when I am stressed I bake. A lot. Cookies. Cakes. Muffins. Cupcakes. The act of baking helps me process what is going on, and then I get to share the fruits of my labor with friends or others that are also having a tough time. It helps bring togetherness.
If you have been here awhile, you probably know that my husband is in the Coast Guard. He is a search and rescue pilot about to celebrate his 20th year of service. We’ve been through quite a few hurricanes together and I get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into hurricane relief. In the beginning of his career, he would fly and help rescue people and get them supplies. Later, he was organizing and working on the operations side. Getting crews and aircraft ready, making contingency plans, and being in meeting after meeting for days leading up to when the hurricane was expected to make landfall.
Something that I never really thought about until I became a Coast Guard wife was that while the prep and rescue efforts are going on, their own families are dealing with their homes and gearing up for a hurricane. And the same is true for all of the other first responders. Electric crews, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, news crews, all of the people that are part of the effort are also dealing with the personal effects of a hurricane coming towards them and their families.
In the Coast Guard, the first people to help are the ones that live there. Crews that serve Florida live in Florida, Texas crews live in Texas, Puerto Rico crews live in Puerto Rico. You get the idea. It isn’t a good feeling to have to evacuate without your spouse. It is scary and you worry. About the safety of your home, but also about the weather and dangerous conditions your spouse is flying in.
The crews that were rescuing people off of roofs, dropping supplies, and getting people to safety are simultaneously going through the effects of a hurricane. When they get home, then they deal with flooding, power outages, and all of the clean up that goes along with hurricanes.
So when Bridget and Imperial Sugar asked me who I would make cookies for, it was a no-brainer. These cookies are for my Coast Guard family. The Coast Guard is tiny. Smaller than the New York Police Department, but when you need them, they are there. And while cookies are the very least that I could ever do for them, I know that they would appreciate them. (I say this from experience, I’ve sent MANY baked goods to air stations. There is no one I would rather bake for.) Especially when they are working around the clock, functioning on very little sleep, and living on caffeine and vending machines.
If we were in the US, Wes would have most likely been working during the hurricanes this fall. Instead, we watched our friends on the news. While I would never wish a hurricane on anyone, I am always proud when I see the CG get some time to shine. To symbolize this, I married our two homes to make Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – a classic American chocolate chip cookie with all of the warm spices that are found this time of year in Germany. Lebkucken are gingerbread cookies and you can buy the spice packets in the grocery store. You can either use a tablespoon of the spice mixture or the amount of separate spices I used here.
Also, I used a 250-gram bar of my favorite chocolate. Ritter Sport Goldschatz is a dark chocolate that I can’t get enough of. I just chopped it up and mixed 3/4 of it into the batter and sprinkled the remaining on top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
For nearly 175 years, Imperial Sugar has been helping people communicate thanks, appreciation, love, and sympathy through home-baked treats. At the heart of baking for others is the very act of giving, and Imperial Sugar encourages everyone to bake and share, both in times of celebration and in times of crisis. Together we can make someone’s day just a little bit sweeter. If you are looking for cookie inspiration, visit the Imperial Sugar website for 350+ time-tested cookie recipes.
Thank you to Imperial Sugar for sponsoring #GiveAFriendACookie. Baking Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for friends and neighbors is a way to build community, foster friendships, and offer comfort. Follow the hashtag on social media to see what others are baking for people in their community. #GiveAFriendACookie
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