Dear readers:

I know that you have come here today expecting some cookie talk, but I hope you won’t mind if I mix things up a little, just for a minute. The cause is a very good one, I promise.

Today is the opening day of the annual Menu for Hope charity raffle, the brainchild of lovely and benevolent food blogger Pim. Last year, the raffle raised an impressive $17,000 for UNICEF. This year, we aim to raise even more, with all proceeds going to the United Nations World Food Programme. For those of us who take great pleasure in food and cooking, this is a small, fitting way to help those less fortunate. For a mere ten dollars a ticket, you can help someone in need get a nutritious meal – and maybe get yourself a nice raffle prize, to boot. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty darn good to me.

Plus, look at those prizes! I hardly know where to start – I want every last one of them. But if I were you – not to be pushy or anything – I’d put my money on one in particular: a chewy, delectable thing that comes from my own kitchen and that Brandon has dubbed, entirely without prompting, “the best cookies, anywhere, EVER.” [You know, of course, that he does exaggerate, but he’s usually right.]

Just think: a dozen chocolate-capped coconut macaroons, lovingly made by yours truly and delivered to your very door! These little beauties never fail to please. A colleague to whom I recently gave a Tupperware of these actually moaned with each bite and then, quite tellingly, held the container to her chest for the remainder of the day. Another friend has taken to calling them “little lumps of heaven.” [I, of course, do not exaggerate.]

I will bake the macaroons to order, topping them with a rich ganache of organic cream and Valrhona chocolate, and I then I will send them via overnight mail to any location – that means you! – in the continental United States. [Sorry, no international or overseas shipments.] Sure, you could hunt around in my recipe archives and make them for yourself, but wouldn’t you rather let me do it? And give some money to a good cause, rather than your local Safeway? I thought so.

Here’s what to do:

1. Go to the donation page at First Giving.
2. Make a donation. Each $10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. When confirming your donation, please specify which prize (or prizes) you’d like in the “Personal Message” section of the donation form. Be specific: state how many tickets you’d like to put toward each prize, and please use the prize code. My code is UWO6. Don’t forget that! Without that code, you can’t direct your ticket to my macaroons, and that would be terrible.
3. If your company matches your donation, please remember to check the box, and fill in the necessary information so that we can collect those funds too.
4. Should you win, we will need to contact you, so please also check the box to allow us to see your e-mail address. It will not be shared with anyone.
5. Winners will be announced on January 15. In the meantime, hope and wait.

To see other prizes offered by us West Coasters, hop over and visit Sam. And thank her for her hard work.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another treat for the ole tin. In the meantime, you know what to do: donate. Please.