Gingery Cranberry and White Chocolate Bars

Gingery Cranberry and White Chocolate Bars // Queen Smithereen.

Gingery Cranberry and White Chocolate Bars // Queen Smithereen.

Gingery Cranberry and White Chocolate Bars // Queen Smithereen.

One Year: Chewy Molasses Cookies.
Two Years: Avocado Horiatiki Salad.

Gingery Cranberry and White Chocolate Bars
Makes 16 squares

CRANBERRY BARS:
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
Juice of one lemon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped, plus more for serving
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped, plus more for serving
1/2 cup high-quality white chocolate chips

WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

CRANBERRY BARS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and line an 8x8x2 pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl using your fingers, rub together the lemon and orange zest and the brown sugar until incorporated and fragrant. Stir in the melted butter until just combined. Add the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and stir. Stir in the salt and the flour, then add the cranberries, the candied ginger, and the white chocolate chips, making sure to stop stirring when all the ingredients are just combined (i.e., be careful not to over-mix, since this will effect the moist, chewy texture of the blondies). Use a spatula to gently press out the dough so it is evenly distributed in the greased pan, then bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out relatively clean, with moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slowly use parchment paper to remove bars from the pan. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once completely cool, frost with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: Use a hand mixer to blend together the butter, cream cheese, and white chocolate. When fully incorporated, beat in the lemon zest. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar and spread liberally across the cranberry blondies. Sprinkle with additional cranberries and candied ginger, then refrigerate for 45 minutes. Once cool, slice into 16 squares and serve. Bars should remain refrigerated and will keep for two days.

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