Tufts Daily Column

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog (send all complaints to the Tufts biochemistry department), but if you’ve missed me I have good news for you! This spring I’m writing a column for the Tufts called Channeling Ina (aka Queen Ina Garten) where I’ll be writing about all things food on the Tufts campus and in Somerville. The first column is here, and future installments will be published every Thursday.

Second Annual Bake Sale, June 16th

Many of you probably saw this already on Facebook, but if you didn’t, next Tuesday, June 16th, I’m having my second annual bake sale to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank! Come by anytime between 3 and 6pm to pick up your favorite cookies, desserts, and baked goods. For more details on location, timing, and menu offerings, click this link here. You can even reserve treats ahead of time if you’re worried about missing out on brown sugar cookies or a jar of salted caramel sauce. I’d love to see you there!

Bake Sale June 17th

To all my local subscribers and readers:

I’m having a bake sale on Tuesday, June 17th starting at three in the afternoon!

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to celebrate the start of summer, stop on by for a cookie or a chocolate pots de crème and a glass of homemade iced tea before taking some treats home. We’ll have outdoor seating, so bring some friends and get ready to relax!

You can find more details about the bake sale, including the location and more menu items, by clicking this link here.  25% of the proceeds will go towards the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, in order to provide food for those in need. It would be great to see everyone on Tuesday—I can’t wait for you to enjoy a fudge crackle cookie or take home a jar of salted caramel sauce!

Caramelized White Chocolate Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

I will caramelize anything and everything I can get my hands on: butter, onions, cauliflower, tofu, oven mitts (oops!) and most recently, white chocolate. It’s amazing how a little bit of heat and time can transform a one-dimensional ingredient into a nutty, aromatic flavor base for any type of recipe.

The idea for caramelizing white chocolate comes from a cookbook my brother got me titled Cooking for Geeks—a book full of the carbon chains for everyday sweeteners and flavor maps constructed from chemical compounds. The lengthy section on caramelization and the Maillard reaction is so far my favorite, and when I saw the technique for caramelizing white chocolate I knew it had to be incorporated into the cookie recipe.

It struck me as a way to enhance the flavors of white chocolate; rather than throwing the white chocolate chips into a bowl of cookie dough with some macadamia nuts in an attempt to isolate two unexciting ingredients in one confection to prevent them from infiltrating baked goods with any true merit, I could toast the cocoa butter solids until they were golden brown and ready to shine in a simple butter cookie.

The result is a tender, slightly cakey cookie with a well-rounded flavor that gives white chocolate its dignity back, without any macadamia nuts.

Caramelized White Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

6 oz. white chocolate

2 tablespoons milk

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

  1. Place the white chocolate in a small skillet over medium low heat until melted, stirring frequently. Once it melts, the chocolate will seize up. This is OK, take a deep breath. Add the milk and stir with a spatula until smooth, then continue to cook until the white chocolate turns golden brown, which will happen 8-10 minutes after you first put it in the pan. Transfer the chocolate to a bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. Add in the caramelized white chocolate and beat until the mixture is homogenous. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer, then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined. Transfer the dough to the fridge and chill until set, at least 1 hour.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. Once the dough has chilled, scoop it into 1 tablespoon-sized portions and roll into balls, then place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are set and just beginning to turn golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Farmers’ Market Recipe Contest

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The San Jose Mercury News is having a Farmers’ Market recipe contest, where readers are asked to submit their favorite original recipe featuring either squash, tomatoes, stone fruit, berries, or leafy greens. I’ve submitted my Zucchini and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce and I would really appreciate a vote from all of my readers. The initial round of voting determines the finalists, and the final recipes will be prepared and tested by  tasting panel.

To vote for my recipe to make it to the finals, click this link to take you to the voting page. (Look for the poll box at the bottom of the recipe, where it asks if this recipe should make it to the finals.)  It only takes a minute, and it means a lot to have your vote.

Voting begins August 8th, and the winners will be announced by the end of August.

Thank you for taking the time to vote!