I have a few secrets when it comes to enjoying a rainy Saturday afternoon.
First, prepare your favorite breakfast. Usually I’ll choose a hot bowl of fruit-sweetened oats because I love how cozy and heartwarming this is on a cold, wet, rainy morning. However, there are other times—such as today—when I take the other route and go with a cold breakfast.
- 1/2 c. oatmeal
- 2 T. wheat bran
- 6-oz. plain yogurt
- 1 banana, diced
- 5 strawberries, diced
- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
- toppings: Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola, 1 tsp chia seeds, scoop of Justin’s honey roasted peanut butters (finally found it in the grocery stores!!!)
Savor. Slowly. Preferrably in bed, while listening to the rain hit the roof.
This next one is optional, but I highly recommend trying it at least once.
Go running in the rain. If you’re not a runner, go for a walk in the rain. Enjoy the rain drops. Walk through puddles. Just have fun and entertain your inner kid at heart.
p.s. running to and from your car with umbrella in hand does not count
Once back at home, dry off and put on your most comfy sweatpants and fuzziest socks.
Turn on your favorite music and start jammin’ in the kitchen. Singing optional, dancing a must.
Bake. This is the final step because the point is to slow down and take your time.
Tomorrow I’m making minestrone soup for my Pepere and the rest of the family, so I figured I would bake some blondies to bring along as well. I had so much fun toasting the pecans, melting the butter, and whisking the batter into a silly frenzy. The whole experience was enough to make me swoon with utter delight. *Sigh* I find such happiness and satisfaction in baking desserts.
These bars are intensely sweet (think of a melty, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie, studded with pecans and white chocolate morsels—with a sweetness factor x 10 ). But that’s the way I like my desserts. If I’m going to have a sweet, I want it to be the real deal. That being said, I also like to cut them small so that people can enjoy in moderation. Cutting them into 40 squares keeps the calories and fat at a reasonable amount for a dessert, while the flavor and sweetness is enough to knock your socks off upon first bite.
You’ll find blondies at many coffee shops because they are best served with a darkly roasted coffee or an espresso. The bitterness is a great offset to the sweetness. Enjoy!
Blondies—Cook’s Illustrated version
- 1-1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 T (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1-1/2 c. packed (10-1/2 oz) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or hershey dark, which is what I used)
- 1/2 c. white chocolate chips
- 1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped coarse (optional but recommended)
- Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. Cover bottom and sides with foil, pushing into corners and up sides. Spray with cooking spray.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the white and chocolate chips and nuts and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula.
- Bake until top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 40 squares and serve.
Question: What are your secrets to enjoying a rainy afternoon at home?