11.19.2011

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies


. I ❤ the holidays.  Simple as that.  And if anyone says they don't, they be crazy.

Even though this next month or so will be quite busy [a.k.a. stressful] due to work, the holidays make it all worth while.  The decor, the cheer, friends and family, and of course, the food!  Oooo, the scrumptious food we'll consume within the coming month [or at least I will be!].  To me, what makes it all better [and justifies eating one more plate full of potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and rolls], is that it's ONCE a year.  Just once, so you better take full advantage.  And I know I will.  Don't fret.

I mentioned that I'll be meeting my family in Chicago this year for Thanksgiving to spend the long weekend at my aunt and uncle's.  And when the Wakasugi's get together, there's usually a large amount of food at every turn.  And when I say large, I mean ridiculous.  In the best kind of way though.


So, there will be eight of us at the dinner table.  But the spread will most likely end up looking like a feast for oh, 17.  Not that I'm complaining one bit, it's one of the things I absolutely love about getting together with my relatives.  The sheer love, [dare I say] joy, and happiness that radiates from everyone.  I can't get enough of it.  Accompanied by the one-time-a-year dishes that I also can't get enough of.  Mm.  Mm.  Mm.  Okay, Thanksgiving can get here already.

You may remember my ICC post for Mini Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes, and if you don't, take a gander.  They're worth the click.  But I know for most families, one dessert just isn't enough.  I mean, c'mon, we just got done talking about eating just a little too much, simply because Thanksgiving gives us that right of passage.  It's written in the 'rules of life' somewhere.  And to boot, the Mini Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes are, well, mini.  Which leaves just the right amount of room in our tummies [yes, I'm five], for one more item.  Or at least until we sleep everything away and wake up to another plate full of goodness.

So if we're going to cram one more thing in our mouths, then it best be worth it.  Right?  Well these suckers are.  Baaa-lieve me!


White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies.  I was sold by the name on it's own, since there was no picture of these delectables in the book I discovered them in.  Gah, these are good.  GoOooOOod.  An uber chewy blondie base encases pops of tart cranberries and crunchy white chocolate chips.  Alone, these bars are outstanding.  But we want more than just outstanding, we need Thanksgiving approved, hello!  So let's go ahead and top the bars with a smooth, rich white chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Woo, take me to heaven! .


My Notes:
  • Just to add a little flavor twist, I used cherry-flavored cranberries and they were fantastic!  However, the original recipe just called for regular dried cranberries.  
  • I opted to not use it, but the original recipe also used 1 tablespoon of grated orange peel.  Either way, these are a winner!


Ingredients:
Bars:
3/4 c. butter, cubed
1-1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. dried cherry-flavored cranberries
6 oz. white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
6 oz. white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 c. dried cherry-flavored cranberries, chopped

Directions:
1.  Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  For the bars, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.  Whisk in light brown sugar and let cool to room temperature.


2.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract.


3.  Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.


4.  Stir in cranberries and chopped white chocolate (batter will be thick).


5.  Spread the batter into prepared pan.  Bake 18 to 21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not over bake).  Let cool.



6.  For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange peel (if using) until blended.  Gradually add in half of the melted white chocolate and beat until blended.


7.  Frost blondies.  


8.  Sprinkle with cranberries and drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate.


Yield: 2 dozen bars

9 comments:

  1. It is hard for me to pass up anything that has this combo of flavors. Even though it is picture perfect for the upcoming holidays, I sure am glad dried cranberries are around all year. No doubt, this is an awesome tasting bar. Thanks for sharing-yum!

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  2. @Tina Thanks Tina! I agree, white chocolate and cranberry is irresistable (I also LOVE it in cookies!). And yes, the good thing is that you can make these any time of year :)

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  3. I love this recipe! What a fun way to incorporate a traditional ingredient like cranberries into a nontraditional dish!

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  4. I did not know about cherry flavored cranberries, sound interesting. Great tutorial pictures -makes it look so easy. :)

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  5. This looks really delicious and perfect for the holidays. I have some leftover cranberries and would love to make this with them!

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  6. I love that you added frosting. Way to take it over the top! I'll be featuring these tomorrow in my November wrap up of the Holiday Sweet Swap. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Those look amazing! Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday! :)

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  8. Woo Hoo! You were featured on last week's A Themed Baker's Sunday at Cupcake Apothecary!
    Don't forget to come back for this next week's theme: Berries!
    Cupcake Apothecary
    http://cupcakeapothecary.blogspot.com/2011/11/themed-bakers-sunday-15.html

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  9. These look sooooooooo good that I just have to pin-it

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