Monday, November 15, 2010

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Here's another one from my Taste of Home "Fall Baking" magazine that was utterly delicious. They were simple to make and I love the combination of oranges, cranberries, and white chocolate. What's not to love? I was a bit underwhelmed after my first taste, but after some refrigeration, these babies were irresistible. I underbaked them just a bit and they firmed up beautifully and deliciously in the fridge. Plus, they make for a gorgeous presentation. I adjusted the recipe just a bit to cut back on the sweetness and they are definitely worth making making again!  They tasted like frosted cookie dough!  And if the frosting is still too sweet for you, this is a great "blondie" recipe base.  Keep in mind... they are blondies, which I always find a bit sweet.  This is a very sweet dessert.  But delicious!

Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Taste of Home's "Fall Baking" magazine
Serves: 2 1/2 dozen (one 9x13 pan)

3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries (although, I may substitute fresh next time)
6 oz. white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped into chunks

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. orange extract
3 oz. white chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl; stir in brown sugar and mix well. Allow to cool.

2. Transfer to a larger bowl if necessary and beat in the eggs and vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate small bowl. Gradually add to butter mixture. Fold in cranberries and chopped white chocolate. Batter will be very thick.

4. Spread mixture into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool completely.

5.  For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and orange extract and peel in a large bowl.  Gradually add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.  Smooth over the brownies.  (I actually only used about 3/4 of my frosting mixture... it was just too much otherwise.)  Sprinkle with remaining dried cranberries.

6.  Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a small ziploc baggie, in 30 second intervals in the microwave.  Massage bag to smooth out any lumps.  Snip a tiny corner off the bag and drizzle chocolate over bars.  Store in the refrigerator.