At 12 years old, that statement had a definite impact on my life...not that I started sending CARE Packages to Europe, but the part of expressing friendship and for me, love to the ones who live far away and how they are missed has stuck with me. I saw first hand, many times from my mother, packaging up goodies to send to my brothers when they entered the Marine Corp and then, of course, there were the goodies she'd have my dad deliver at Christmas to our family doctor, dentist, and friends in the area. A language of friendship for sure.
For me, I started sending care packages to Dad after my mother passed away in 1987. I had returned to California and wanted him to know that I was thinking of him. It also became a fascination of our local town as well since Dad had gotten a post office box because vandals had taken out his mailbox with a baseball bat. He'd come in to the post office and the postmistress would holler, "Mr. Tierney, you have a care package in your box," before he even stuck his key into the hole! I labeled the box...TO: Dad and listed at the bottom what number this one was...1, 2, 3, etc. Not only did he love the homemade treats, photos, cards, etc., he loved the attention from the staff wanting to know what his daughter had sent him.
I continued to send him care packages throughout his remaining life and to my own daughters when they went off to Mount Holyoke College. They loved the treats too, but just knowing a piece of home came in a box, meant something even more. I continued to send packages to both my girls and now my grands--it makes us both smile.
I was thinking of those moments when I decided to send a care package to my great-niece Samantha, who started her freshman year in college this September. Letting her know she has family with her with this next phase of her adult life is important. I created Luscious Lemon Shortbread (like her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and me...we love lemon!), made some granola, then, filled the rest of the box with entertaining reading material, and snacks.
Luscious Lemon Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon (reserve to juice for the glaze)
4 T graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar
juice of 1 lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)
2 T Karo light syrup
Preheat oven to 325F-degrees. This recipe makes a 9" x 13" pan of shortbread--I made an 8" x 8" pan and 5 individual ones for my great-niece.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and zest together thoroughly.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together as moist crumbs! You don't need to have greased the pan(s) -- transfer crumbs to the desired baking pan(s) and pat with your hands. Use a fork to prick the surface--this helps bake the shortbread.
While still warm, I use a paring knife to "score" cut lines in both the individual (made one diagonal) and the larger pan, into squares. Allow to cool before adding the glaze.
Adding a special tag I made and wrapping up the individual baking containers was all I needed to finish a box that will arrive with love to a very sweet great niece. Enjoy!