Have you heard about the national bake sale for Japan? It’s happening in multiple cities this Saturday, April 2, and Austin is one of those cities. As soon as word started spreading about organizing a bake sale in Austin, the positive response was overwhelming. There are currently over 100 volunteer bakers and about 40 businesses contributing to the Austin event. There will be five locations around town for the sale, and all donations will go directly to Americares for relief efforts in Japan. Each location will have an incredible variety of both sweet and savory treats on offer, and for anyone who is unable to take part in Saturday’s event, there’s an online giving page with FirstGiving where all donations also go directly to Americares.
To be able to contribute, in some way, to the recovery process in Japan by baking sounded perfect to me. The timing couldn’t have been better since I just received a review copy of the new book Milk and Cookies which is from the New York bakery of the same name. The book will be released on April 20. It presents recipes for cookie dough bases from which many varieties can be made. For instance, there’s vanilla base dough, dark chocolate base dough, oatmeal, peanut butter, and sugar cookie base dough. Each base has a chapter dedicated to it with different additions for several unique cookies. From the peanut butter base dough, you might make peanut butter-milk chocolate bites or peanut butter and jelly cookies. There are also chapters for special cookies like mocha-cherry drops, carrot cake cookies, and ice cream sandwich cookies, family favorites like biscotti and sfogliati crown pastries, and brownies and bars like Kahlua brownies and pecan bars. Last weekend, I decided to test a recipe for white chocolate blondies to find out if they were bake sale-worthy. The cookie dough itself was made with melted white chocolate, and after baking, the blondies were covered with a white chocolate glaze. The cut bars were chewy, and there were hazelnuts and chocolate chips to add crunch.
First, a pound of white chocolate, and yes, that’s a lot but this recipe makes a lot of blondies, was melted with butter. I used Callebaut white chocolate disks. Next, flour, baking powder, and salt were combined and set aside. Six eggs were mixed in a stand mixer, sugar was added, and then the cooled white chocolate mixture was incorporated. The dry ingredients were added, and last chocolate chips and toasted, chopped hazelnuts were stirred into the dough. The dough was baked in a large sheet pan and allowed to cool before the blondies were topped with a glaze made with cream and more white chocolate.
As a white chocolate fan, these blondies were a big hit with me. The white chocolate in the dough gave the crumb of the bars a dense but tender texture. The semisweet chocolate chips and hazelnuts added crunch and kept the bars from being too sweet. These will definitely be contenders for what I bring to the bake sale, but I have my eye on that peanut butter cookie chapter too.