Thursday, May 15, 2008
It's been a busy week as my boyfriend's nephew and his girlfriend were visiting us from Chicago. It was lots of fun showing them around the city especially because they had never been to California before. Since they were in town, I did a little baking and decided to bake up a batch of cranberry and raisin blondies, a recipe I've had my eye on for some time now. If you are a blondie fan (and I’m not talking about the 70’s rock band here), I think you will find many things to like about this bar cookie which is filled with not only luscious cranberries, but rum-soaked golden raisins too. You could probably make them even more decadent by adding some butterscotch chips or chocolate chunks, but I decided not to this time. I also left out the nuts because I wanted the focus to be more on the juicy cranberries and raisins. Coming out of the oven, I was worried that the blondies were going to be a little on the dry side. The baking time said anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes but you know how ovens can vary, so I opted for the 35 minute baking time. Still though, I prefer a chewy, gooey blondie and these were just a tad drier than I liked, almost with a tea cake-like texture. So, my recommendation is to keep an eye out on the baking time and check how they’re coming along perhaps at the 28-30 minutes mark. I enjoyed the butterscotch flavor of these blondies very much, and found the cranberries and raisins added quite a tasty and pretty touch.
Fruity Blondies (adapted from Gourmet's Best Desserts)
1 C cranberries, rinsed, picked over and chopped
1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup rum (light or dark will work)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 3/4 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Butter/grease an 8X8-inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a small bowl and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
3. Combine the raisins and rum in a small saucepan; bring the liquid to a boil and simmer the raisins, covered, for 5 minutes or until they have absorbed the rum. Let cool.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat; add the remaining 1 and 3/4 cups brown sugar, cook the mixture, stirring, until it is just bubbly. Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla, add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir the batter until it is combined well. Fold in the cranberry mixture and raisins, and turn the batter into the baking pan, spreading it evenly (batter will be very thick).
5. Bake it in the middle of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (Check at 30 minute mark so you do not over bake).
6. Allow the pan to cool on a rack and cut into bars.
Yields about 30 small bars