White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Blondies

Sometimes I’m asked if I miss teaching and if I’ll “go back” once all the kids are in school. Ummm, how do I say “no” and “no” politely? Now don’t get me wrong – I loved teaching biology and physical science. However, I feel I’m still very much a teacher – only with fewer students (just 3!) and a lot less paperwork! That said, I’d like to resume my former role as a high school teacher again for a moment. So, please clear your desk – it’s time for a pop quiz! And, please keep the groans to yourself.

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1. This year Valentine’s Day falls on:

a) Lunar New Year
b) February 14
c) Chinese New Year
d) all the above

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2. Blondie refers to:

a) Dagwood’s wife
b) a cousin of the chocolate chip cookie
c) an American rock band
d) all the above

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3. Heart refers to:

a) the pump of the circulatory system
b) the band that made “Alone” a hit
c) the traditional symbol of love and Valentine’s Day
d) all the above

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4. Blondies are best when they contain:

a) white chocolate
b) dried cranberries
c) orange zest
d) all the above

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Ok, time’s up! Let’s see how you did. If you went with “d” for all 4, give yourself a gold star. Why did I make all the answers the same? To make it easy on you and because that’s what we ate when we made these white chocolate cranberry orange blondies – “all the above!”

White Chocolate Cranberry Orange Blondies

makes about 24

  • 1½ cups (7½ ounces) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups (10½ ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • zest of one large orange
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 4½ ounces sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang to serve as handles, to make removal of the baked blondies easier.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Whisk melted and cooled butter and dark brown sugar until smooth. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and gently combine. Fold in white chocolate and cranberries.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and bake 30-32 minutes. Don’t overbake or they’ll turn hard and all your effort will be wasted! When done, top will be shiny, cracked, golden brown, and slightly puffed. Toothpick will come out clean with a few crumbs attached. Let cool on wire rack. Using nifty parchment handles, remove blondies from pan. Cut into desired shape and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Please use good white chocolate – one with cocoa butter rather than palm oil.
  • Nuts would be a welcome addition. This batch was made for my oldest to take to school to celebrate her birthday, so sadly, nuts were nixed. Next time I’d add 1 cup (4 ounces) of toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans.
  • Although the amount of salt may seem high, it’s needed to cut the sweetness of the white chocolate.

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