The Pentagon's 26-PAGE Brownie Recipe: See Why (IMAGES)

The Pentagon's updated recipe for war-ready brownies, to be consumed by the military, has been baffling bloggers. The recipe and all the details are packaged into a hefty 26-page document, which not only covers how to bake "COOKIES, OATMEAL; AND BROWNIES; COCOLATE [sic] COVERED", but also lists specifications on a number of standards and guidelines, such as the type of ingredients to be used and the dimensions of the finished product (which, for brownies, "shall not exceed 3-1/2 inches by 2-1/2 inches by 5/8 inch" and for oatmeal cookies "shall not exceed 3-1/2 by 2-1/2 inches and shall not exceed 7/16 inch thickness").

Jeremy Whitsitt at the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate -- yes, the Combat Feeding Directorate -- explains to NPR host Guy Raz why all the fuss:

"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.

The brownies, if baked in accordance to the "specification ... approved for use by by all Departments and Agencies of the Department of Defense," are made to last years, if necessary. But how tasty are the hardy treats? Penny Karas, owner of the bakery Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C., made the brownies for NPR's "All Things Considered" and concluded: "It's not so great." Guy Raz concurred: "Yeah. They're awful."

Flip through some highlights of the Pentagon's 26-page brownie recipe manual:

And scroll through the Pentagon's whole 26-page brownie recipe: