Like any good American, I live for my days off. Don't get me wrong. I love my job. I get to make pretty cakes all day and go home at three. I listen to the radio, occasionally interact with customers, and get to brush up on my kitchen Spanish. Not a bad gig, but it's a job.
In my dream life, I wake up around eight. I make coffee and have what I call "office hours" until about ten or so, when I decide it's time to get going and bake something already. I muster up a recipe, gather my ingredients, and get going. I probably listen to the radio or some guilty pleasure country album, maybe shedding a few unexpected goosebump-tears brought on by Ira Glass.
It's quiet and productive, sprinkled with some half-yoga stretches that turn into just laying next to the dog for a minute or two. It results in things such as these Raspberry Oat Bars or Honey Broiled Nectarines.
It might not seem like much, but it's good for the soul. No one would be able to say I didn't do anything all day because I have these to prove 'em wrong. The proof is in the pudding (or 9in square baking pan).
Recipe for Raspberry Oat Bars (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1 cup raspberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 9in square pan with foil and spray with non-stick oil.
In mixer, combine flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and pecans with paddle attachment. Slowly add butter and mix until clumpy and sandy. Do not over mix.
Spread 2/3 mixture into bottom of pan and press until even. Spoon in raspberry and spread evenly. Top loosely with rest of streusel and bake for 35 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.
Remove and let cool two hours before slicing into squares.