Chapter 4 of the book is about my role of being a nanny for Emma and Siena during my first year in Italy. I had always wanted to be a mom, so this meant a lot to me. I loved getting to know both of the girls and sharing their every day life. They both taught me so much. Most of all, the experience reminded me to be young at heart and always curious about everything.
I think my favorite time with them was in the afternoon when they would return from school. It was usually a frenzy of updates about what had happened at school, what they had planned for the remainder of the day, and of course, eating lunch. Like most kids, they arrived home absolutely ravenous. I swear they would eat almost anything I put in front of them. Most of the time, as was tradition, it was a pasta dish. And, without fail, always included a sweet treat at the end.
I loved making my mom's blondies for them because they were easy and no fail, even in the little toaster oven in their tiny kitchen. The smell alone could transport you to a heavenly place of comfort and love. My mother had something sweet and delicious baking in her kitchen on a regular basis when me and my two brothers would get home from school. I wanted to pass on this tradition to Emma and Siena. Love can be expressed in so many ways, and baking is one of them.
Here is the recipe from page 45 of the book. I hope you love them as much as I do. Bake them for someone you love!
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt 1/3 cup of butter. Add 1 cup of brown sugar and stir well. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Next add 1 egg (beaten) to the butter and sugar mixture and stir well. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and ½ cup chopped walnuts.
Variation: For boozy blondies, add an ounce of Nocino Liqueur, which is from the northern region of Italy, Emilia Romagna, made from green walnuts.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Stir until well mixed.
Place the mixture into a 9x9 inch pan that has been sprayed with oil spray. Sprinkle 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips over the top of the dough.
Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes.
Let cool and slice into bars and enjoy. These are great with vanilla ice cream.
Recipe note: If you like sea salt, these are delicious with a sprinkle of sea salt (about 1 tsp.) along with the chocolate chips on the top prior to baking.