She needs an umbrella with her chocolate chips.

New York is not for the faint of heart. I have a theory that New Yorkers are unlike anyone else, if only because of the brutal and often unpredictable weather patterns we brace ourselves for every season.

March in New York proves this point in its entirety.

On Friday, it was a balmy 75 degrees, with the promise of warm spring around the corner. Today, freezing rain and gusty wind escorts us into the new week. If New Yorkers, at times, seem too tough and not quick enough to exchange toothy grins and hugs, this is why.

If you lived in sunny Miami, wouldn’t you be inclined to smile a little bigger and step a little lighter?

Luckily, there are certain things that make the gray days more palatable: Family, friends, chocolate-chip cookie bars—or a combination of all three, not always in that order. Fortunately for me, all of the above assembled in our apartment this weekend. As I think about us laughing, acting silly, and passing around a plate of these cookies, I find myself more capable of dealing with a gloomy Monday. At times you need a vacation, other times you need family and sometimes you simply need comfort food. Clouds are lifting.

This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine’s Chocolate-Chip-Pecan Cookie Bars. I prefer to replace the pecans with sliced, toasted almonds.

A bit of espresso mixed into the flour highlights the flavor of the chocolate;  replacing some of the sugar with quality maple syrup deepens the flavor, while cutting out some of the processed sugar.

Rainy days never tasted so good.

Chocolate-Chip-Almond Bars
(adapted from Food & Wine)
Makes about 16 bars

  1. 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  3. 2 tablespoons canola oil
  4. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  5. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 1 teaspoon ground espresso
  9. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  10. 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  11. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  12. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  13. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spread the almonds in a small skillet and toast over low heat until golden and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the butter and oil with the granulated sugar and maple syrup until light and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, espresso, cinnamon and salt; add the dry ingredients into the mixer at low speed. Fold in the chocolate chips and almonds until evenly incorporated.  
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and nearly set in the center. Let cool completely, then run a knife around the edges and invert the rectangle. Peel off the paper and invert onto a cutting board. Cut and serve.


  1. Those look amazing..and I love the family tradition- when its raining sit on the couch and eat! ;)

  2. Yes, or any other time! :) Love your tag name.