The Strength Behind the Strong website. Proudly supporting our friends and family in the U.S. military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.


The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Entries in Cookies (5)


Our favorite cookie trick for military care packages, plus more Operation Cookie Overload pictures

Our very first website posting almost two years ago remains one of our most popular: “A Perfect Kiss: Learn the secret to cookies that travel without getting trashed.” The idea? Take yummy peanut butter blossoms cookies, which are impossible to stack in military care packages ...

... and instead of inserting the Hershey’s Kisses right side up, insert them upside-down. Delicious and easy to stack and pack in holiday care packages.


We love that our Operation Cookie Overload bakers have put this handy trick to good use! These pretty holiday tins from Lois in Ohio are on their way to Afghanistan filled with upside-down Kiss cookies:


These cuties were dressed up for the holidays in green and red sprinkles by Kristy, who has a son deployed with the Air Force, yet still made time to bake for our Marines.  


And from Jami in Oregon, who baked these treats with her sons, nieces, and nephew. Quite a spread!

And the countdown continues. There are four mailing days left (including today) to get your Operation Cookie Overload packages in the mail for guaranteed delivery by Christmas. 


Check us out in Taste of Home magazine!

Whoohoo! This little ole website has made it to the big time. The deliciously wonderful Taste of Home magazine has a feature on The Strength Behind the Strong in its new November 2011 issue, which is on newsstands now. (We are featured in the “Cooks Who Care” section on page 80.)

A huge thanks to the editor, Jeanne Ambrose, for inviting me out to the Taste of Home test kitchens in Wisconsin, where I got to taste the addictive Giant Molasses Cookies and film a web video filled with military care package tips. And a double-special thanks to all the folks in the Taste of Home test kitchen who baked hundreds of those Giant Molasses Cookies to send to some of our Marines who are serving in Afghanistan. Thanks for supporting our troops!  



Cookies with a Message (and five tricks you need to know to avoid baking disaster)

I’ve never liked to eat my own words, until now. But when I spotted the adorable, customizable ‘Message in a Cookie’ Cookie Cutters in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, I had to have them. Right away. And since we’re gearing up to make care packages for our Adopt an MP effort, this week seemed like an excellent time to try them out. (Join us! We still need volunteers.) So what could go wrong? Let me spell it out for you: P-L-E-N-T-Y. But if you avoid my mistakes, these cookies will become your new favorites — and a clever addition to an R&R or good-luck-in-boot-camp party.

These make-your-own-message cookie cutters are $19.95 at Williams-Sonoma.

The cookie cutter kit includes three cookie cutters: one heart, one star, and one scalloped rectangle. It also includes three full sets of alphabet letters, plus extras of popular letters, such as “s.” You can use those individual letters to make custom messages like “We missed u Private” or “Hooah CPT More.” Aren’t these cookies the cutest things ever? 

The tinted dough is fun and festive, but uncolored dough would be pretty too.

For perfectly pretty cookies the first time, follow these five tips.
#1. Watch your ABCs—and Es. Trouble can ensue because the individual letters must be slid into place backward and in reverse — essentially their mirror image — so that when they are stamped into cookies they read like English, not Pig Latin. Can you spot the two errors below? 

Click to read more ...


Fortune cookies bring good luck to military welcome-home parties

Here’s one trick for getting through loved ones’ deployments: Don’t count up how many days they’ve been gone. Instead count down the days until you can throw a welcome-home party. (During my husband’s first deployment, I spent the four months before his return obsessing over handmade party programs, bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers, and the 100-person guest list. Yes, I went a bit overboard. But it was all for a good cause!) A fabulous party favor? Fortune cookies with personalized, military-theme messages. 

Custom fortune cookies can be filled with your own military-specific messages. You'll garner a few chuckles when you write “Confucius says” in front of just about any message.

Shop for these sweet treats online. A Google search for “custom fortune cookies” will locate dozens of online cookie companies. We are partial to Good Fortunes, Inc. (; we ordered cookies from them for a big bash, and they were a huge hit. They only make vanilla cookies, but they’re tasty and the traditional color works well with red-white-and-blue party schemes. Get 300 cookies with up to 17 different you-write-them fortunes for $40 plus shipping. (Want to try them first? They’ll send samples for $6, which includes shipping.)

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A Perfect Kiss: Learn the secret to cookies that travel without getting trashed

Whatever you call them — Kiss Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, or just pure heaven — these chocolate-and-peanut-butter delights have been an American tradition for more than 50 years. The now-famous cookies made their debut back in 1957 when Freda Smith of Ohio and her “Peanut Blossoms” recipe advanced to the finals of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.

The cookies have only one downside: They’re impossible to stack in care packages, so they’re pretty much guaranteed to arrive in Iraq or Afghanistan in sad crumbles. 

But there is an easy solution …

By making one little tweak to the recipe, you can help them journey safely overseas:

Click to read more ...