Blow that sunshine right up your….

Before moving to Washington, I thought nothing of the sun. We had it all the time in Phoenix. It was hot all the time, it was miserable all the time. That is one of the main reasons I moved to Washington. I like rain. I knew it rained here. And so you never hear me complain about the rain. But boy oh boy do my friends. A lot. They say it’s not so much the rain as it is the gray. I like gray as well. Gray is wear comfy clothing while sitting on you couch curled up with hot chocolate and a book weather. As where the sun is the opposite.
My friends are often shocked when they ask me how I spent the gorgeous sunny weekend. Indoors. “But the sun was out.” (Excellent observation…good to see that college education paying off). Very aware the sun was out. I was in it briefly, it caused my eczema to break out. Awesome.
The sun makes me think I should be doing something. People are out boating (we don’t own a boat), hiking (not really my thing, I keep trying but it’s not taking), exercising (I like to do mine where there is A/C thank you very much), etc… I don’t want to feel like I have to do something on the weekend just because a big, yellow ball in the sky is telling me to.
I think what I hate most of all is people’s attitudes. I will often read a fellow Seattle dwellers Facebook update about them having a bad day. And sure enough some will post the phrase I can’t stand…”yeah, but the sun is out today, so it can’t be all that bad”. Yeah, bummer that you were at your dad’s funeral, but hey, the sun it out. Really? I just don’t find the sun all that mythical. It’s not curing cancer here people…in fact, if you are in it too much, it will give you f-ing cancer. Get over it. When you are having a good day, I don’t say to you…yeah, but it’s raining.
Since I obviously want rain, it got me in the mood for some Scottish shortbread, since they get some rain too…from time to time. ;) I decided to make it into more of a toffee than an actual shortbread. It’s one step above ghetto toffee, which is also good.

Brown Sugar Toffee Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup rice flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp almond extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces almonds, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F.
Spray baking spray in a 9-x-13-inch pan.
Using a standing electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add brown sugar and beat on medium high until fully incorporated.
Add in almond extract and beat for 30 seconds on medium-high.
Turn mixer to low speed and mix in flours and salt. Press dough into prepared pan, it will be thin, you want it to be.
Bake until shortbread is brown, firm at edges and slightly soft in center, about 30 minutes.
Take shortbread out of oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the shortbread. Place back in oven for 3 minutes.
Remove from oven and using a spatula, spread the chocolate out evenly over the shortbread. Sprinkle the almond pieces on top of the chocolate.
Let cool. Place in freezer for 10 minutes (helps with the cutting). Cut into 1-ounce rectangles.


  1. Didn’t those vampires in Twilight move to Washington to avoid the sun, too? I’m just saying.

    That said, they didn’t eat did they?

    Nice looking snack bars, btw!

  2. Such a Seattle thing – if the sun is out you HAVE to get out it it, because Lord knows we’ll have rain again within a matter of days. Hilarious!

    Sitting on my couch in Bellevue :)

  3. I used to love your blog, but now it seems every time there are negative, cynical things in every post. I still think you are an amazing baker, but its not enough for me to want to continue being an avid reader.

  4. Wanna hear something funny? When I went to Scotland in APril/May several years ago, expecting rainy Seattle weather, we got sunny and 70s the whole time! It was great! :)

    I like the sun to be out, but I don’t like it to be hot. 75 is warm enough for me. After that, I’m in the shade or on my couch.

  5. I know just how you feel. I hate living in Florida. After grad school, I was all set to escape, but then I met my husband & I was trapped! ;) I’d move to Seattle in a heartbeat if I could get my family to come with me. Sigh…Maybe someday a little retirement house up there?

    Love the bars! Anything with toffee has my attention. Have you ever had Millionaire’s Shortbread? Very similar, but with a layer of caramel and chocolate on top. Bliss!

  6. Peabody says:

    Oh Nicole, you obviously are not an avid reader of my blog…cynical and sarcastic are my thing. Always has been.

  7. These look delicious!

  8. I am so with you! I live in Phoenix now, and would love some gray in my life. It just makes everything seem more calm. There’s a reason there’s so much road rage in AZ. Too much glaring brightness.

  9. I’m with you Pea but husband likes sun. You think we need counseling or just some of these bars. Oh and a few ghetto toffee too, just for good measure.
    And the heat has settled in for the duration here.

  10. super size me! says:

    Oh, I love rain and cold weather too! But, don’t you think you are being a little too harsh on people who do like sunny weather? And the guy who said that to the one who was feeling down… I’m sure he had nothing but good intentions. Just trying to cheer him up. It is proved that depression rate is higher in winter!
    Anyway, enjoy your gray days and that shortbread cause it looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

  11. Haha. Wow. Well, as a fellow Seattle-ite, I understand your pain. I moved here from PA, and was astonished to see that you are made to feel that your whole life is wasted if you don’t spend every.sunny.moment.possible boating, hiking, camping, picnicing in the park, etc. I enjoy these things, but sometimes don’t mind spending a sunny day indoors baking and reading. Good for you!

  12. I have to admit that I love the rainy days, too, though my garden would like it to be a bit sunnier. My friends have all been complaining about a week of rain. Me? I loved it!

  13. This ghetto toffee looks awesome! I love the gray, too. I always get crazy looks when I say that. Um, hello, sometimes it’s nice walking around when it’s gray out, or cuddling up by the window to read, or napping. Not that I don’t appreciate a sunny day, but I think gray and rainy days absolutely have their places! My one complaint about the rain: everyone on BART (the train to San Fran) smells like wet dog. Moving on from wet dog. These ghetto toffee bars look AWESOME. I love that this is your version of shortbread. Amazing.

  14. OMG, that looks so good! I’m drooling!

    I love rainy days with character, but not those sad grey uniform days…



  15. I’m with you sister. Bring on the rain. Unfortunatley I live in Australia. A land where people live at the beach and complain if the mercury drops below 30. Last time it rained here was sometime in the mid 1860s….. if I remember correctly.

  16. Ah, I guess I’m the real crazy one because I like -all- weather. There are certain things I love to do in the sun (shopping, photographing dessert) and certain things I love to do in the rain (writing, curling up in bed, baking). It’s all goood to me :)
    The rice flour provides extra crunch right? These almost seem like a different construction of chocolate chip cookies– love this! (especially since it has a ton of brown sugar ;)

  17. Oh I’m so the opposite! Too funny.

    I’m just dreaming of moving to Arizona or Florida so I can be in the sun all the time. While Ontario, where I am, is not as rainy/grey as Seattle (and area), it’s just not sunny enough for me.
    I do worry about skin cancer etc so I lather on the sunscreen like crazy…but there’s just something about the sun and blue sky for me, it’s striking and mood-lifting. I get depressed if it’s rainy/cloudy for more than a day or two, I wouldn’t survive a week in Washington (or anywhere on the North Pacific coast lol

    But I don’t complain it’s not sunny enough, I just wish I could move to Arizona! haha

    Those bars look amazing, thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Hope you get some nice cloudy weather again soon! ;)

  18. Peabody says:

    Yay Laura! Finally another Seattle person who feels the pressure to always be doing something when the sun is out or people think you are nuts.

  19. Haha. Well said, although I think I have to point out that it’s been absolutely dazzling over here these past few days.

    I even got some sunburn… in Scotland!

  20. Love the look of those bars, but sorry I can’t relate to enjoying rainy days. They suck every ounce of life right out of me.

  21. I love rainy days! And your toffee bars – they look scrumptious!

  22. I actually hate rainy days as I am a commuter and I hate walking in the rain. I love it when I am indoors and sleeping though =) yummy looking bars!

  23. Super yummy! I can’t wait to try this! I like the sun and the rain, which is why I guess I like Utah so much – we have four very definied seasons and that is just right for me.

  24. your are just like my hubby, he prefers the gray skies and I crave the sun, constantly. he promises me we can move back to cali someday as I can’t take the lack of sun and winters here in new england.
    but I have to be honest, I just love your honesty when writing…

  25. I don’t know, the sunshine is pretty important to me… But if I had a piece or two of that toffee, I think I could deal with rainy days much more happily!

  26. Your toffee bars would cheer me up – they look great!

  27. Your posts are hilarious! And I don’t like the sun either. Grey days, especially warm ones, are much more ambient and poetic.

  28. My husband would love me to make these for him. But he’s in training so I can’t. Oh well!

  29. Heather says:

    Wow, I’ve been reading your blog for along time, and sarcastic and cynical is what keeps me coming back. ;) Of course, the recipes don’t hurt either.

    It’s been sunny and HOT here today – unfortunately too hot to turn the oven on, unless I also want to turn on the A/C so I will content myself with drooling on my keyboard over the pictures.

  30. I agree with you, too! In fact, I haven’t hardly stepped out of my apartment in over a week, sunshine or not.

  31. Actually, as long as you don’t overdo it (unlikely in Seattle!), the vitamin D you get from sunshine is good for you, and there is evidence that it helps to prevent cancer.

  32. I am half sunshine/half rainy days…sometimes it’s so hot here that I just pray for rain!

    I’ll always be up for these toffee bars though :)

  33. I ALWAYS prefer the rain. Haha it’s funny, people always make the same brilliant observations to me when I say I spend a whole sunny weekend at home: “but it was so nice and sunny outside”… exactly! and I chose to stay inside, where I wouldn’t sweat or burn! Bitter? maybe, only slight crusty though ;)
    Lovely recipe, good for a picnic on an overcast day :)

  34. I am split down the middle with this one… I am definitely one of those people who are in a better “sunnier” mood when it’s nice outside. However – I love love love the excuse to hunker down in my sweats with a cup of cocoa on the rainy/snowy ones. In fact, I love finding excuses so much that I once kept a horrible job for years longer than I should have simply because I was allowed to wear sweatpants every day…. sigh…. now I wish it werent so sunny outside right now, I feel like being cozy on my couch!

  35. I whine about the rain. But when it’s sunny too long, I whine about that, too. I think whining about the weather is a mandated pastime in Seattle. Yummy bars!

  36. My husband and I are both gray rainy day lovers. I’m very pale and just can’t function well when it’s hot, so I dread summer. I always wish we could skip it, the other three seasons are so much more fun.
    We’ve been talking about moving up to the Portland area, because the San Francisco bay area is just a little too dry and warm really.
    Oh, and the week I spent in Scotland it rained every day. It was, and still is, the happiest week of my life.

  37. rockstone says:

    i’ve been to the ghetto and had freinds from there… i never saw anything like this…

  38. These shortbread bars look delicious – perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book and a cup of coffee …

  39. I would much rather be at home making (and more importantly eating) these than pretty much anything else, ESPECIALLY exercising.

  40. I’ve always loved the rain – just one reason I’ve always wanted to move to Seattle! And I love toffee anything, too!

  41. While I cannot say I’m a huge fan of rain (I’m short and the bottom of my pants always get wet) I am not generally a fan of severe heat and sun. Those two combination’s are hell to me.

    Your candy looks delicious and similar to something I made at Christmas. You always make such yummy food!

  42. Ha! Loved your comments. I’m a NW gal living in Hawaii for the past 20 some odd years, and I miss Seattle’s gray sky and rain. On sunny days here give me an air-conditioned bookstore and that to me is paradise!

  43. Yummy — I love to make this at Christmas! Your blog is one of my favorites places to visit and yesterday when asked to pick 10 pf my favorite blogs – I included yours. So if you would like to pick up your award and pass it along please feel free to do so. You’ve been KISSED by a Rose because you inspire this cook to bake.



  44. Stephanie says:

    I love your blog and I so agree with your post. I feel as if I should be on anti-depressants because I’m not hopping out of bed and raring to go during the summer. Sunny days make me want to draw the shades, put on my sunglasses and pretend I’m a vampire (i.e. sleep all day). Rainy cool days make me want to roll up my sleeves and get down to business. I guess we’re just programmed differently.

  45. Love toffee…rain or shine!

  46. Since I turned into the crazy hot flushed lady I do not like it when it gets hot here. It is quite unbearable for me!
    I can hardly sleep at night due to the heat explosion (‘flush’ is way too dainty a word!) occurring within my body. I love the cold. Rain is nice too. I want to work in the frozen food section at the grocery store. It sounds grand.
    Enough of the cold talk…am I boring you? So sorry!
    Your Almond Rocha shortbread looks divine, dahling!
    (Nicole is a party pooper. Keep it real, Pea! )

  47. I love shortbread! I think I may make these for my family reunion this weekend! Mmmmm!

  48. I love them both – as long as I don’t get long stretches of each at a time. Make sense?

    Luckily I live in N.C. where the weather is always perfect for me no matter what.

    But I’d eat that shortbread no matter what mood I’m in.

    (And agreed on exercising in the A/C. The sun is for things like swimming and reading on the patio. In the shade. HA.)

  49. Well, I like rain…when I am home, maybe because here in LA barely rain, so when it does, it is a mess all around. Anyway, whether it is a rainy day or sunny day…toffee bars are good, and your looks delicious.

  50. Pea, I love rainy days and I also love sunny ones – but my favorite thing to do is to stay in, watch a movie, read a little, and cook and bake. Those are the things the make my days good, so the weather doesn’t count – except for when I get mad about not having light to take my photos. :)

    Those bars look really delicious!


  1. […] snack in his lunch I wanted a simple dessert to make. I had very recently read this recipe from Peabody, and knew he would love them. I did swap out the almonds for walnuts as he is not an almond fan, […]

  2. […] adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody […]

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