Penny Karas, owner of Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C., measures a finished batch of brownies. The recipe states the brownies should not be cut larger than 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 5/8 inch.
Penny Karas, owner of Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C., measures a finished batch of brownies. The recipe states the brownies should not be cut larger than 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 5/8 inch. May-Ying Lam/NPR
Baking brownies is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen. Most recipes have fewer than 10 ingredients, and the instructions are simple — measure, mix, bake.
Well, not if you're baking for the Pentagon. The latest viral sensation to hit the Internet is a 26-page document laying out all the rules and regulations you need to follow to bake appropriate treats for our men and women in uniform.
Take Section 3.2.6 of the recipe, for example, which covers eggs. It reads, in part, "Whole eggs may be liquid or frozen and shall have been processed and labeled in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59)."
You get the picture.
Jeremy Whitsitt, with the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate, tells host Guy Raz that the extra care is needed because military bakers face unique challenges.
"One thing we like to say is, 'What would happen if you cooked a meal, stored it in a stifling hot warehouse, dropped it out of an airplane, dragged it through the mud, left it out with bugs and vermin, and ate it three years later?'" If it were a military meal, Whitsitt says, it would still be edible and maybe even tasty.
According to the recipe, the weight of a brownie should not be less than 46 grams.
According to the recipe, the weight of a brownie should not be less than 46 grams. May-Ying Lam/NPR
Brownies made from the Pentagon’s recipe will probably last about three years if they're packaged properly. But the important question is, how do they taste? We asked Penny Karas, the founder of Hello Cupcake bakery in Washington, D.C., to whip up us a batch. And to be honest, they weren't too good: dry, crumbly and dense. But they did taste as if they might last quite a while if boxed up and shipped to a war zone.
The Pentagon actually updated its official brownie specifications recently. The new document has been streamlined and expanded to cover things like lemon poppy seed cake and chocolate banana nut muffin tops. The length? 31 pages.