Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fresh Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Blondies

I've never been a big fan of white chocolate because it is overly sweet to me, but I heard that the white chocolate chips that Trader Joe's has at holiday time are really good so I picked up a bag.  They've been sitting in my cupboard waiting for inspiration to strike.  A bunch of people have been posting copycat Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars and they got me thinking.  Those usually use dried cranberries, but I thought that might be a little too sweet for my taste with the white chocolate.

Since I bought the big bag of fresh cranberries at Costco I decided to make my own version of Cranberry Bliss Bars but with fresh cranberries and no frosting.  I started out with a plain blondie base, kicked up the vanilla flavor by using vanilla paste, if you haven't tried this stuff it is basically vanilla extract on steroids, and then stirred in some fresh cranberries and white chocolate chips.

I bought mine at Sur La Table but Williams Sonoma and Amazon have it too.
It comes together really quickly, all in one bowl, so you can have a delicious holiday treat with minimal effort and minimal dishes.  The sweetness of the blondie and the white chocolate with the tart bursts from the cranberries are the perfect balance for each other and leave you with a delicious, seasonal treat.

Start out by creaming your butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.  Then beat in an egg and the delicious vanilla paste. (If you don't have vanilla paste you can use vanilla extract instead.)  Once that's all mixed together, add in some flour, baking powder, and a little salt.

Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips and then spread the batter in a square baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.  The batter is very thick so you will need to spread it around.  I forgot to take a picture before I put it in the oven so I pulled it out after about 3 minutes so you can see how thick the batter is.

Bake at 350 for about half an hour or until the top is golden brown and it's puffed up.  You want it to be fully cooked, but think of this like a giant cookie, keeping it a little bit underdone when you pull it out will keep your blondies soft and chewy.  They will continue to cook a bit after removing them from the oven from the residual heat of the pan.

Once they are baked, let cool for a half hour or so before you cut into it.  If you let it cool completely, it will cut even more neatly, but if you are impatient, 30 minutes is enough to be able to get a piece out without it falling apart and you won't burn your tongue.

Fresh Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Blondies
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla paste 
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (depending on how sweet you like it)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and spray an 8 x 8 in. pan with cooking spray.
  2. On medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat in the egg and the vanilla paste.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined.
  5. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  6. Spread in the prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

I'm linking up with Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Less Laundry More Linking, Pin It Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Create It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Future Expat, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Marvelous Monday, and Whimsy Wednesday.