These Cream Cheese, Cranberry & White Chocolate Blondies are rich, with tangy cream cheese, sweet white chocolate and the piquancy of dried cranberries. They bring a new red and white vibe to the whole idea of blondies.
Cream Cheese, Cranberry & White Chocolate Blondies
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my blondies and brownies dense in texture. These blondies are rich, due in part to the ratio of cream cheese and butter to dry ingredients. But they’re also a little lighter than I expected, perhaps because of the baking powder. Even though I took pains to incorporate as little air as possible into the batter, I’m wondering if the spreadable quality of the cream cheese that I used also factored into the unexpected lightness.
This Is Not a Test Kitchen
In a perfect test kitchen world, I would make a batch with the standard cream cheese that’s barely spreadable when cold. And then I would make another batch without baking powder. In fact, I’d made numerous batches to test out many combinations and permutations, until I achieved the exact dense texture of my dreams. But what would I do with all those blondies? And who would contribute to the fundraising campaign to pay for all those ingredients?
Don’t get me wrong. If I’m not satisfied with a recipe, I’ll make it several times before posting it here. But even though these blondies didn’t quite hit the degree of chewiness I was looking for, they’re still perfectly fine. Maybe I simply shouldn’t have brought up that issue …
So How Do They Taste?
The cream cheese imparts a delightful cheese tang to the batter. The white chocolate is sweet and rich, and the cranberries add a fruity tartness. All in all, they make for a uniquely delectable blondie.
And the chocolate and cranberries transform these blondies into a red and white treat that would be a wonderful salute to Canada Day or any occasion where those colours fit the theme. Like a Tuesday, for instance.
A Word About the Chocolate
In the past, I’ve made these with white chocolate chips, which I believe usually have stabilizers in them to help them hold their shape. Today I chopped up a big block of white chocolate. As the chocolate heated up, some of it almost caramelized (yum), and as you can see in the photo above, there was some white chocolate volcanic action that left craters on the surface. I think that’s kind of cool.
These blondies were a hit when I first made them in 2013, and I think will be even more so now that I’ve tweaked and improved the recipe. Just like me, they’ve improved with age.
Not only do these blondies feature white chocolate, but they offer the tang of cream cheese and the vibrant red and piquant flavour of dried cranberries. I've updated my original recipe to use an entire small (227 g) container of cream cheese and less sugar. Trust me, it's still sweet enough! I've also made improvements to the method.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 g 227-g container cream cheese (approximately 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
Set out the butter, cream cheese and egg ahead of time (about 30 minutes or so) to bring to room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×90-inch baking pan and line with a layer of parchment paper extending up two sides. This makes it easy to remove the blondies from the pan after baking.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat on low speed until blended. Beat in the sugar, also on low. Because we want the blondies to be dense, the idea is to incorporate as little air as possible into the batter. Then use the same procedure for the egg and vanilla.
Then add the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate until well distributed.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Let the blondies cool in the pan, then cut into 16 squares or the shape and number of your choice.
- I used to use Philadelphia cream cheese in the cardboard packets, and it was always quite firm. My daughter got my groceries this week and brought me Philadelphia* cream cheese in the little tubs. To my surprise, it was spreadable even when cold, although I didn’t see that noted on the package. I have to say, that’s handy! I adapted the recipe to use an entire container to avoid having a small amount left over.
- *This is not a sponsored post; that’s just the brand that I’ve always used which can be handy to know in case they process theirs differently from other companies.
Looking for Similar Flavours?
Here are two more recipes that feature cream cheese: Cranberry Cheesecake and Ginger Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting. And if it’s a cranberry–white chocolate combo you’re looking for, these Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies are always a crowd pleaser. (And I can see it’s time to republish these recipes, since the photos all have the previous name of the blog on them.)
Originally Published 2013 07 01
Republished 2020 07 07