Looking to make brownies that can be stored in a hot warehouse, dropped out of an airplane, dragged through the mud, left out with bugs and vermin and still be eaten 3 years later? Then you should check out this 26-page PDF from the Pentagon.
The instructions are intense. For example, consider the description of which shortening to use:
Shortening shall be a refined, hydrogenated vegetable oil or combination of refined vegetable oils which are in common use by the baking industry. Coconut and palm kernel oils may be used only in the coating. The shortening shall have a stability of not less than 100 hours as determined by the Active Oxygen Method (AOM) in Method Cd 12-57 of the Commercial Fats and Oils chapter in the Official and Tentative Methods of the American Oil Chemists Society. The shortening may contain alpha monoglycerides and an antioxidant or combination of antioxidants, as permitted by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and regulations promulgated thereunder.
NPR had someone whip up a batch — and apparently they aren’t that good.
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.
They also noted that the Pentagon recently updated the brownie specifications to cover things like poppy seed cake. The document is now 31 pages.