We had the pleasure of visiting our out-of-town friends recently, and in formulating plans for our quick visit, we decided we should spend an entire afternoon in the kitchen. Our friend is a self-proclaimed cookie monster, and with an upcoming vacation of her own, wanted to stock up on homemade goodies for the trip. I love baking, and eating baked goods, so it was a win all around. I trolled around TasteSpotting for a bit, and as soon as I saw these White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies, knew I wanted them to be "my" contribution to the cookie-fest.
White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1 1/4 c. (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses
1 3/4 c white chocolate chips
First, the oven! Preheat it to 350, and while you're at it, prepare your pan. Simply grease a rimmed cookie sheet, preferably one that is 12x17. The lip is critical for holding in the blondies.
As with most recipes, this one calls for combining the dry ingredients separately. I mixed together the flour and the next five ingredients in a medium bowl, substituting allspice for the previously suggested cloves.
In our hostess' lovely KitchenAid mixer (we really need to get ourselves one of these!), the butter and both types of sugars were creamed together. The temperature of the butter really helps with this-- too cold, and it won't combine well, too warm, and it will be runny.
Next, I added the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, pushing down the butter/sugar combo that accumulates on the sides after each addition. Then, I added the other wet ingredients, the molasses and the vanilla. Both of these help create that rich gingerbread flavor.
Publix brand, of course.
On low speed, the flour mixture was added in small batches, mixing until just combined before adding more (I split it into three additions).
Then, either on the lowest mixer speed or by hand, mix in the white chocolate chips. You could also add dried fruit, semi-sweet chocolate chips, or nuts (I'm thinking a dried cherry, pecan, white chocolate combination would be killer!). I then dumped the entire mixture onto the greased pan, and with a spatula, spread it out to the edges until a smooth, even layer was formed. These bars end up fairly thin, so if you wanted to produce thicker, "cakier" bar, you could make these in a 12x9 dish and increase the baking time.
The recipe I had suggested a 23 to 25 minute baking time, but at 20 minutes, our edges were browning and the whole pan seemed well-set, so we removed them then. The bars were quite springy, with more of a cake feel than brownie feel at this point. I then allowed the entire pan to cool on a wire rack until ready to slice.
Once cool, these can be sliced into whatever size bars you desire. I sliced up 35 bars, but even some of these were on the large side. Their thinness allows maximal bars out of minimal dough, making these good for feeding large holiday crowds or for producing many baked good gifts.
The bars were super moist while they were still warm, leaving my fingers a little greasy as I snagged the first one. The gingerbread flavors are subtle, but contrast really well with the usually overwhelmingly sweet white chocolate. Once they cooled completely, the bars settled a bit and produced more of a dense, dark bar, and were one of my favorite creations of the day. This unique twist on a holiday favorite might just be what you need to get out of that Christmas cookie rut!