A 2003 document with the unassuming title of “MIL-C-44072C” first surfaced in early 2010 on the personal website of Finnish programmer Lars Wirzenius, and shortly thereafter saw reporting from Reason, National Public Radio, and the National Security Archive’s Unredacted blog. What was in this document that generated such considerable interest? Nothing less than the military’s official recipe for brownies, spanning an impressive 26 pages.
Though much of the reported focused on the length of the document as yet another example of military-industrial bloat (in this case, quite literally), as the NSA’s Nate Jones points out, this framing is somewhat misleading. Most of the document covers is concerned with food standards and specifications, such as this lengthy list of requirements for nuts:
As for the brownie recipe itself, that’s relatively straightforward — with the caveat that much like the Soviet Army’s borscht recipe, you’ll need to account for the fact you’re probably not trying to serve hundreds of people.
Also included is a separate recipe for making frosting (or “chocolate coating” as it is called) …
though honestly, we’d just recommend shelling out a few bucks to buy a jar.
Finally, although overshadowed by its more caloric cousin, the document also includes in the military’s official oatmeal cookie recipe, which, similar to the Army’s instruction manual for candy, is endearingly straightforward. To paraphrase: “Make cookies, then do not break cookies.”
The NPR article mentions an updated version of the brownie specifications, which we have requested. In the meantime, read the full 26-page document embedded below.