Care packages are wonderful things!

So I wrote this post a few days ago, but waited until the care package arrived at its destination to post it. It was to Gavin, but there were some goodies in there for some other special people in SLO : ) Isn’t getting mail the greatest?! I LOVE getting mail. The effort the other person has to put in just makes it all the more special. I am always so excited when I see something in my mail box that isn’t one of those generic mailers! Do any of you get excited over mail like me??

I love making things and have always enjoyed making cards. I was going to post a few pictures of the cards I made, but then I realized I didn’t take any before I mailed them! Oh well! They were Halloween cards, only because it was the next holiday coming up, not because I normally think of Halloween as a card giving holiday and I wanted to write to people : )

BUT Christmas is coming up and I already have Christmas card ideas brewing. I made Christmas cards for two years in High School, but I didn’t have my crafting stuff down in SLO, and there isn’t that much time over winter break before Christmas to make cards. However, I have been reunited with my stamps, ink pads and paper and this year I am making Christmas cards! I’m pretty darn excited! Making cards is somewhat soothing and relaxing, plus I get to be creative AND then I get to send them to people and let them know I am thinking about them and wish them a Merry Christmas! How great, right?! Can you believe there are 74 days until Christmas?! It keeps creeping up! But we still have Halloween and Thanksgiving! Speaking of Halloween, I have no idea what to dress up as! Any suggestions??

On to the main topic of what I wanted to post about: the yummy recipe for the bars I baked for Gavin

The recipe came from the Cookshelf cookbook on Baking. It is a cute little cookbook and I got it along with ones on Italian, Mexican, Chocolate, and Vegetarian for my birthday. This is the first recipe I have made out of any of them and I think it turned out pretty good! So here is the recipe:

MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD

Shortbread Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar

Carmel Topping

  • 14 ounce can condensed milk
  • 4 Tbps light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Chocolate Topping

  • 5 1/2 ounces milk chocolate (I used more like 6 or 6 1/2, the more chocolate the better right?!)

Directions

  1. Thoroughly grease a 9-inch square cake pan. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Sift flour into a bowl (I just whisked it to get the lumps out) and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix to form a firm dough. (I wouldn’t have called my dough a “firm” dough, but when I pressed the dough together it held. It was fine because of the next step.)
  3. Press the dough into the prepared pan and prick with a fork. (See why it didn’t need to be a “firm” dough?)
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool completely in the pan.
  5. To make the carmel topping, place the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a nonstick saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the carmel is pale golden and tick and is coming away from the sides of the pan. Pour over the shortbread base and let cool. (I re-greased the pan before I did this just to help the carmel not stick to the side. I figured a few more calories from the butter wouldn’t make that much of a difference in the long run)
  7. When the carmel topping is firm, melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler (I just used a smaller saucepan inside of a bigger one). Spread the the melted chocolate over the topping, set aside in a cool place, then cut the shortbread into squares or bars to serve.

Overall it is a pretty straight forward recipe. However, there is a lot of down time waiting for things to set up and/or cool. So just be prepared to do one layer at a time and wait 30 minutes to an hour between each one. Here is the final product!

Lastly, OREGON FOOTBALL #2 IN THE NATION!!! I love how into football people are here! I am really hoping I will be able to get tickets!!! Watch out Ohio State, we are right on your tail!

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