Cranberry and White Chocolate Blondies are the perfect festive treat to bring along to all those Christmas gatherings that we have this time of year.I have, for some time, been lamenting that I can’t make the gorgeous Rhubarb and White Chocolate Blondies I made during the summer, so this is a reworking of the recipe that works for winter (a shameless reworking – I even use some of the same pictures!). The cranberries in this recipe bring the same tartness as the rhubarb and using orange really brings a warmth and sweetness too.
This recipe has already made it’s way to two Christmas events where it was very well received. In the picture above it was all dressed up for a trip to a party, hence the gold stars and sprinkling of glitter. It was rather more rustically attired for a trip to a training day in All Hallows College in Dublin, but looked equally attractive in the greaseproof paper it was baked in! Baking this recipe really fills the house with beautiful Christmas smells making it ideal to serve at home. However, it also travels well before and after it is sliced. Blondies are more solid and biscuit like than brownies so hold their shape even over speed bumps!
Cranberries are pretty cheap and widely available in the shops at the moment, and it feels good to embrace the traditional Thanksgiving berry of our friends in America. Cranberries have a strong acidic taste but with the sprinkling of sugar in this recipe become almost jam like. They need a little help to be spread evenly across the mix as they weld together somewhat with the sugar. I am a big fan of using cranberries at Christmas, and they star in my Cranberry, ginger and orange mincemeat recipe.
On Christmas day itself, I like desserts that can be made ahead and that aren’t too complicated. This served with an orange mascarpone cream, custard or simply a sprinkle of icing sugar would be lovely. It would also be lovely served on Christmas Eve with mulled wine or hot chocolate. I feel cosy and comforted just thinking about it!
One last thing, this recipe can easily be made gluten free by using gluten free flour and making sure the rest of the ingredients, especially the chocolate, are gluten free. It works well as it is an almost biscuit like texture which is easily achieved with gluten free products.
- 350 grams of cranberries
- Zest of an orange
- 30 grams of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of fresh grated or ground ginger
- 150 grams of flour
- 200 grams of white chocolate (some of this is to sprinkle on top)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon of coarse salt (or half a teaspoon of free flowing salt)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 115 grams of unsalted butter
- 100 grams soft brown sugar
- 65 grams granulated sugar
- 1 egg
I am going to talk you through the method exactly as I do it!
1. Set the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
2. Toss the cranberries with the ginger, orange zest and sugar.
3. Pop it in the oven for about seven minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. The cranberries will start popping. Remove them from the oven.
4. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees celcius.
5. Leave the cranberries to sit and cool.
6. While the cranberries are cooling, put the butter in a small pan over a medium heat. Allow the butter to melt but continue cooking and stirring until it looks foamy, smells nutty and there are little golden brown solids floating in the butter or sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Leave it to one side to cool.
7. Now, line your tin. An 8 inch square tin is perfect, but any similar sized tin will work fine. An extra smear of butter on the paper will guarantee it doesn’t stick.
8. Chop up your white chocolate if you are using a bar.
All the mixing starts now!
9. Mix the flour, spices and salt together. I use a whisk.
10. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the butter and stir until combined.
11. The butter sugar mixture needs to be fairly cool so you don’t cook the egg. Mix in the egg. This is a lovely mixture to stir, but resist the temptation to keep beating. You don’t want to incorporate air into this mix.
12. Add the butter/sugar/egg mix to the flour and stir until the batter is still streaked with flour. Add 2/3 of the white chocolate chunks and mix in just enough to combine.
13. Spread the mix out evening in the base of the tin.
14. Scatter over the cranberries in an even layer with the white chocolate.
15. Pop in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes.
The white chocolate can brown a bit, so pop parchment paper on top if you notice this happening (and it bothers you!)
Slice into squares once cooled and enjoy!