At the start of the new year I promised myself I wouldn’t write about the weather, nor would I bake more sweets until spring. While I don’t think it was meant to be, these promises are now officially broken. We’ve had a sudden shift to mud season temperatures here in New Hampshire. Rain beats a gentle song on the rooftop. Like the sound of little children’s feet padding across a wooden floor in footed pajamas, the rain drops are more playful than menacing, especially when coupled with the dramatic blue-grey mist hanging over the hillsides. While out of sync with the season, I find it compelling to look out the window, to marvel at it all, staying dry and warm indoors, hard at work, cookies baking in the oven.
Thank you for your warm welcoming to my new website and developing business, Dena Testa Bray: Web Design Services for Creative People. Yesterday, I met with my first new client, a friend who’d like to develop a website to showcase her hand-sewn products. As our work unfolded, I found myself thinking about the parallels between my two crafts, web design and cooking. Both need passion and skill, patience and courage, both bring me closer to others in a nurturing way. While I find cooking a relaxing process—as the ingredients transform from raw elements into a coherent, flavorful dish—others find the process daunting. So, too, working with websites. The process can be overwhelming, even frightening. When all the tools—web platforms, font colors—come together to form a place on the internet that expresses myself or my client’s personalities, I feel a huge sense of satisfaction.
Baking is another satisfying process—the aromas of cookies in the oven brings warmth to a damp and dark day. These Crunchy Granola Squares are part breakfast treat part dessert. Chocolate and peanut butter chips give sweetness to a bar cookie that also includes the salty tastes and crunchy textures of your favorite breakfast granola. Enjoy them with fresh fruit and yogurt in the morning, tea in the afternoon, a bit of ice cream at dessert, or...
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
P.S. Short fiction lovers—My husband, Alan Bray, has a new story published! The Bar in Three Sections appears in the online publication Ink & Coda. The Temporary Assistant Postmaster, published in 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, has been nominated for a Puschart Prize. Please join me in congratulating Al!
CRUNCHY GRANOLA SQUARES
Yield: 24 Squares
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet or bittersweet
- 1 cup peanut butter or butterscotch chips
- 1 ½ cups granola
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
- Sift together the flours, baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until they are fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat again.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add the chips and one cup of the granola.
- Put the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Place in the oven and bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, cool slightly, then cut into 24 squares.
- Allow to cool completely, then remove from the pan.
- Serve sprinkled with the remaining ½ cup granola.
- Store squares in an airtight container. They freeze well, so consider making a double batch.
- Keep on hand for snacks or tea time. Or, serve for breakfast with hot coffee, Homemade Yogurt and fresh fruit.
- Many of you have asked what granola I used in this recipe. We received granolas from Early Bird Foods & Co. for a holiday gift. I am officially hooked on their brand.