Millionaire Shortbread | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Millionaire Shortbread

Millionaire Shortbread | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

My husband is the king of gift giving. It’s basically his super power. Over the years, he has given me so many wonderful, thoughtful gifts that are always totally surprising but also exactly what I want, sometimes without even knowing it. And though he does often spend more money than I would, it’s never about how expensive the gift is. He always finds something that shows that he has been listening and really gets me. Every gift says I love you.

I’m turning forty soon, and I’ve been pretty anxious about it. Signs of age are finally undeniable in my face and body, and I’m not sure how to deal with that. I want to accept it gracefully, but it’s a struggle.

The other night, I came home from my yoga class to a pile of packages on the kitchen table. I overlooked them, assuming they were maybe Christmas gifts or something from various family members that had been sent up early. I couldn’t think what else they would be, and I was too hungry to process them beyond another thing I would need to tidy up.

Ten minutes later, to keep myself from dying while I waited for some real food to be delivered, I dug out some ice cream bars from the freezer, and as I was setting the empty box on the table, I finally noticed the note that was sitting there. A note to me. The sweetest note I’ve ever read declaring that all those gifts and envelopes were actually for me. 40 gifts for the 40 days leading up to my birthday so that I would remember every day how much I am loved, how wonderful my life has been, and what a beautiful future we have together. That note will probably still be my favorite part of the gift by the time my birthday finally arrives. I’ve said it before, I didn’t know what it meant to be truly loved until I met this man. Nothing has changed.

Millionaire Shortbread | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

For Geoff’s birthday a few months ago, I bought him a video game and tickets to a local Oktoberfest event. I’m terrible at gift giving. My brain just doesn’t work like that. The way I showed him my love was to make him homemade caramel ice cream, and these Millionaire Shortbread bars. I’m a terrible shopper, but you best believe, you’ll get the homemade dessert of your dreams. And this Millionaire Shortbread is definitely the stuff that dreams are made of.

A layer of crumbly, buttery shortbread is topped with a layer of chewy caramel, then a thick chocolate ganache is spread over the whole thing. It’s heavenly. While there are three different components, and each needs to be made individually, this can be done after work and still be eaten later that night. Caramel-making is always a little bit fiddly. My pot is old and doesn’t heat evenly, so I get hot spots, but hopefully you don’t have hand-me-down cookware and won’t have to contend with that problem. But even if things don’t go perfectly, this is still gonna be awesome.

Millionaire Shortbread | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We all have unique ways of saying I love you. Millionaire shortbread is a great place to start.

Millionaire Shortbread
Serves 16
Millionaire Shortbread is an awesome way to show a caramel lover you care.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the crust
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons corn starch
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 ounces cold butter, cut into chunks
  6. 1 tablespoon cold water
  7. 1 egg yolk
For the caramel
  1. 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 3 ounces unsalted butter
  4. 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. Pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate
  1. 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped of chips
  2. 3 tablespoons double cream
For the crust
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment or foil leaving a bit of an overhang for easy removal later.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, corn starch, and salt until combined and lump free.
  3. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like wet sand. I find my clean hands are the best tool for this job.
  4. Add the water and egg yolk and blend together with a fork until everything is well combined.
  5. Transfer this mixture to your baking sheet, and press it evenly into the bottom. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For the caramel
  1. While your crust is in the oven, you can start making your caramel. Start by whisking together your sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter and golden syrup in a medium sauce pan with a candy thermometer attached. Make sure you have enough space as the mixture will expand as it boils.
  2. Cook this over medium heat, whisking gently all the while until the butter melts and the mixture starts to boil. Continue to cook and stir until the temperature reaches 225F. Once you hit your target temperature, turn off the heat and quickly add in the vanilla and salt. Whisk this all together, then quickly and carefully transfer your caramel onto your crust. Allow it to cool for about 15 minutes for the caramel to set.
For the chocolate
  1. Combined your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips with your cream in a microwave safe dish. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each round, until the chocolate is just melted. Give it a good stir to smooth everything out, then pour this over your caramel layer. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate mixture as evenly as possible right to the edge.
  2. Refrigerate the whole thing for at least an hour to set everything before slicing into 16 pieces. These are pretty rich, so you could make them even smaller if you have the patience. If you're finding your bars difficult to cut, allow them to come up to room temperature first.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Awesome in October
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Awesome in October

Awesome in Octber

Awesome in October

Have you ever procrastinated to the point of paralysis, afraid to look at your abandoned work for the fear of the destruction your neglect has wrought? That’s where we are right now. My relationship to blogging has been complicated of late, but I can’t bring myself to quietly fade away just yet.

I’m easing back in with a recap of the past month in the spirit of better late than never. We’ve been balance adventure and utter laziness, as well as some pretty good eating. We took a day trip to the National Museum of Rural Life earlier in the month. Luckily, it was pretty quiet, so Geoff didn’t have to push any little kids out of the way to get his turn to pet all the farm animals. It was an interesting museum if you like history. We’re National Trust for Scotland member, so we got in for free, but I’m not sure if I would have paid to get in. Still, we were able to bring the dog to the outdoor parts, and we got some really nice, if overpriced, sandwiches from the cafe.

We also finally tried Topolabamba, which has been on my radar for years. The beef barbacoa tostadas were great, but the chorizo taquitos were not as good as they sounded. There’s still plenty on the menu that I want to try, so we’ll definitely be going back for more.

We wrapped up the month with a short trip to London, and it was glorious. We saw Dita Von Teese’s show, The Art of the Teese. We were way up in the cheap seats of the beautiful London Palladium, but we had a total blast. Everything about the show was completely beautiful. 

We had a beautiful dinner at Polpo Smithfield on the first night, and we spent the second day exploring the Borough Market, popped into a few museums, and strolled around the largest bookstore in Europe, the Waterstones in Picadilly. I was basically in heaven. While searching for a completely different burger place, we also stumbled upon Shake Shack, and we had to stop everything and get a burger, shake, and crinkle cut fries. I finally get it guys. That burger bun was like a pillow, and the burger had an amazing crust of crispy bits to amp up the flavor. I was completely on board with this.

Before heading back to Glasgow, we explored the legendary Harrod’s. Treating it like a museum because we can’t afford a single thing in that place, we strolled from floor to floor, resisting the urge to touch the expensive and usually awful merchandise and staring in amazement at the over the top design. When we got to the food hall, I basically died and went to heaven. 

I absolutely love visiting London, and I can’t wait to get back there again.

Then I woke up the next morning with a cold, and I’ve been living with that ever since. Life is full of contrast.

This is my favorite time of year for internet food. People bring out the most outrageous autumn recipes, and I can’t get enough. 

Spiced Pumpkin CIinnamon Roll Pancakes bring together so many of my favorites, I don’t know where to start.

I would like a bucket of this Chicken Tortellini Soup, please. 

These Pumpkin Ganache Cupcakes are just so sexy and delicious. 

Your favorite recipes in October were Chicken Parmesan, Passion Fruit Green Tea, and Parmesan Fried Gnocchi. Man, I haven’t made fried gnocchi in ages. You guys know where it’s at. So good!

We’re ramping up for the holidays this month, and I’m ready to shake this cold and get into it. Are you with me? It’s gonna be awesome.

A Dozen Awesome Cozy Bowls of Goodness

A Dozen Awesome Cozy Bowls of Goodness

A Dozen Awesome Cozy Bowls of Goodness

When the rain starts to pour and the temperatures drop, all I want to do is keep my soup pot bubbling with something completely cozy and delicious. Soups, chowders, and chilis were made for repelling the autumn chill. Here are eight of my tried and true favorite recipes, plus four more that I can’t wait to try this season from some of my favorite food bloggers.

Chili with Gnocchi from Awesome on 20

Chili with Gnocchi is a magical mixture of spicy, meaty chili and soft, pillowy potato dumplings. I can’t stop eating.

Chicken Corn Chowder | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chicken Corn Chowder is so full of flavors and textures, every bite is interesting.

Bacon Black Bean Chili from Awesome on 20

Bacon Black Bean Chili is smoky and spicy and loaded with black beans which I’m pretty sure are magical.

Spicy Chicken Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spicy Chicken Chili has long been my husband’s very favorite family recipe.

Ham and Potato Soup from Awesome on 20

Ham and Potato Soup is great for using up leftover ham, but there’s no need to wait around for all that to make it.

Green Minestrone | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Green Minestrone is the perfect soup for vegetable lovers.

Black Bean & Chorizo Soup | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup can be made in under 30 minutes.

Cheesy Potato Soup | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Potato Soup might be one of the most indulgent things ever to grace your soup bowl.

I don’t have an Instant Pot, but I’m definitely going to find a way to make this Chipotle Cheddar Corn Chowder. I mean… come on!

Everything about this Butternut Squash and Brie Soup with Crispy Pancetta sounds completely awesome.

This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili looks pretty ridiculous. I’m into it.

Grilled Corn Chicken and Bacon Chowder is like the soup equivalent of woolen socks. It’s the epitome of coziness.

Get yourself in the kitchen and keep it cozy, friends.

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