It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.
- John Cheever
A morning dog walk, shadows stretched across the sidewalk, sunglasses needed against the brightness of a summer day.
A huddle of women in blouses blanches, white smocks, cafeteria workers, clucking like hens, each clutching a cigarette. Morning break at the back entrance.
A huge bus in the center of the square hawking bananas from Guadeloupe and Martinique. French bananas, local bananas. A big blow-up banana.
A tremendous bouquet of yellow flowers, their bright little heads peeping through the wooden pickets that line the square, a burst of sunshine each time I walk the dog.
A stop at the local boulangerie. The warmth of the bakery welcome even on a warm summer day as baguettes, row upon row of baguettes are pushed into the oven and pulled out again. I carry home a fresh baguette slipped into a long paper bag, so hot my fingers burn. Temptation, I bite off a corner peeping above the edge of the bag before I even start up the stairs.
A Father's Day celebrated a day early, without the pomp yet with all the circumstance. A simple brunch, but when there is good conversation and an excellent dessert, who needs more than scrambled eggs, fruit and white wine? One son and his best friend who is like a son and the two of us while other son…. slept.
And I baked.
BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP PECAN BLONDIES
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated as seen on Liz's That Skinny Chick Can Bake
1 ½ cups (195 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
12 Tbs (170 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ cups (about 285 g) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 – 2 tsps vanilla extract
¾ cups chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate (more, if desired)
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (more, if desired)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, leaving enough overhang to help you lift the blondies from the pan when they're done.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, blend dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate and nuts. Spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an spatula, making sure the batter spreads all the way into the corners of the pan.
Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown: the original recipe called for 27-30 minutes but I had to add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time as at 30 minutes the blondies were still liquid. The blondies should be set but still moist as they will set as cooling.
Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan using foil and cut into 16 squares and serve.