Care packages in general are a creative and fun way to keep loved ones close and top of mind when they live in a different state. Even with zoom and texting always available, there is something special about getting and opening a package that comes in snail mail. These red velvet peanut butter cookies are easy, delicious and they ship well in holiday care packages!
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College Care Packages
I started sending seasonally themed care packages to my kids when they were in college. It ended up being such a delightful memory for them that I am still sending them every holiday, even though my kids have long-since graduated.
They were as much fun for me to make as they were for them to receive. I loved getting the call after they received it and laughing about the items that were a fail and accepting the warm thank-yous of the items that were a hit.
Sometimes the fails were pretty hilarious and more of a memory today than the hits. I kept sending my son a swimming suit in his Spring package every year because the first one I sent was so ugly (to him) and unrelated to his college activities that it ended up being a standing joke. He got a swim suit in each Spring package after that.
Pretty sure Goodwill got those suits!
If you are sending care packages to college kids, be sure and check out these ideas that go beyond food.
Valentine’s Day Care Package
I sent the above care package to my daughter when she started living in an apartment for the first time and began cooking for herself and friends.
She was taking part in office potlucks in her new job and was thinking of making sweet treats to share with new co-workers.
I thought some high quality paper plates, along with fun decorations for cupcakes and bars would be appreciated (they were!).
I added some gel decorations for her windows and some homemade Valentine’s Day treats from mom, and of course, a little cold hard cash.
Care Package Ideas
While my son was in college he was always in need of money, so I turned the heart Valentine care package into a mix of different denominations of money.
I added some useful items for his specific needs, like laundry pods, hot sauce and a coffee filter basket.
And of course I sent some sweet treats, both store-bought and homemade. Red Velvet Peanut Blossom Cookies and Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies were the homemade treats in this particular year’s care package.
Homemade Treats for Care Packages
Red fruit, chocolate and hearts are, of course, the must-haves for Valentine’s Day, but they also work for other holidays. It’s always fun to mix it up with some favorite store-bought candies, as well as “heart-felt” homemade treats.
Tips for Shipping
Although my care packages usually include a range of fun or needed “things”, they always have some sort of homemade food.
Cookies, cupcakes and baked goods are well-loved treats around holidays, but they can be a problem to ship. Shipping companies, whether USPS or UPS don’t tend to heed the “fragile” notes you put on the box.
Over the years I learned which homemade goods could withstand shipping and delays without turning into a crumbly or gooey mess. The red velvet peanut butter cookies shipped without a glitch and received the heartfelt thanks a mom always loves to hear.
Other Treats that Ship Well
- Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- Raspberry Swirl Brownies
- Spicy Peanut Brittle
- Pumpkin Amaretto Bread
- Chocolate Espresso Quick Bread
- Ritz Cracker Chocolate Bark
Red Velvet Peanut Butter Cookies
- Bowls and measuring spoons
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature; 1 stick
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk whole or 2%
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¼ teaspoons red gel food coloring Food grade natural
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 11 ounces dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses Enough to make 48 cookies
- ¼ to ½ cup red sanding sugar granulated sugar in red
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Beat butter and peanut butter together in a stand mixer on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until fluffy (2 min). Turn mixer to low and add in egg, milk, vanilla and red food coloring. Beat over medium high until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl sift together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture gradually to sugar mixture and beat until just combined (do not overmix).
- Remove mixer from stand and shape dough into 1 inch balls. Pour red sanding sugar into bowl and roll the balls in the red sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. While cookies are baking, unwrap the kisses.
- Remove cookies from oven and immedietely press kiss into center of each cookie. The cookie will crack around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.
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