Did you know you can raise awareness of the meaning behind the poppy and benefit veterans, military, and their families by baking cookies? That’s exactly what an American Legion Auxiliary unit in Peoria, Ariz. has done.
Connecting the image of the poppy with the sacrifice of veterans and servicemembers has been a goal of the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy program since 1921. The poppy is distributed in exchange for donations throughout the year, especially on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.
Distributing a red crepe paper poppy isn’t the only way to support veterans. Marge Christianson of John J. Morris Unit 62 started baking spritz-style cookies in honor of the Poppy program. The members distribute cookies at various events and when they conduct final services for veterans at their unit.
“It’s a reminder that the veteran will be joining many heroes who have gone before him or her,” she said.
Interested in doing something similar? Here is the recipe:
“POPPY” SPRITZ COOKIES
1 cup butter — room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond flavoring (or other of your choice)
generous squirt red gel food coloring
2½ cups flour
Optional: Use chocolate chips in the center
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly mix first 5 ingredients, then add gel food coloring to achieve the desired color. Add and mix flour in increments. Using about ¼ of dough at a time, force dough through a cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a wreath-shaped insert. Using a bit of extra dough, fill in the center of the wreath. Bake 7 to 10 minutes until set but not brown.
- Cool completely. Decorate center by placing a drop of corn syrup in the center and sprinkling with black decorator sugar. Another option is to place chocolate chips in the center. They go well with the almond flavoring.
- Place in 2” x 2” cellophane bag, fold over, and staple to an ALA poppy bookmark, available here.
Now it’s time to put on a big smile and talk about the work you are doing to benefit veterans, military, and their families.