I do love blondies – a rich vanilla brownie – and I love them even more with white chocolate. I thought my recipe needed to stop there, but I was wrong (so, so wrong). There is so much more to add like dried cranberries, popcorn, and then some more dried cranberries, thanks to my enlightenment from the Whole Foods “Whole Deal” booklet.
I think back on my days of just plain blondies with white chocolate, and think how naive I was. To think that was all there is.
I changed up the recipe from the Whole Foods version because I like a thicker blondie base. There are also some keys in the recipe to helping make the added toppings stick that I’ve included below. Tis the time of year for Festive Garland Blondies. *teaser* next recipe will be a brownie version!
Festive Garland Brownies, adapted from the Whole Deal newsletter
- 1 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, divided
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups white chocolate chips or chunks, divided
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup salted popcorn (from a microwave bag)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add 3/4 cup cranberries and 1/2 cup of the white chocolate chips or chunks and toss to coat. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until just cooked through and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes (but you want to work with it still warm so topping will stick). Melt remaining white chocolate. Spread 2/3 of the melted chocolate over bars and immediately scatter remaining cranberries and popcorn over the top, pressing down gently to help stick. Drizzle remaining chocolate over bars. Set aside until chocolate sets, about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. Store in a sealed container for a few days.