Blondies

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday.  What a weekend we had here – it was full of fun, family, food and friends!  Friday night we traveled to Shane’s parents’ house to spend Christmas Eve with his family, as we traditionally do and then on Saturday we drove down to have Christmas lunch with my family.  In between, Santa even dropped by to visit us, and he was very generous, bringing lots of cooking and baking related gifts, and even some new toys for my camera.  On top of all that, we began to hear rumblings of a major winter storm heading our way, and by Sunday afternoon it had arrived.  The blizzard of 2010 was intense – it brought with it wind gusts exceeding 50 mph and lots and lots of snow!  I tried to get outside this morning to snap some pictures to share, but seriously couldn’t open the door because the snow was piled up so high…

Snow

For the sake of comparison, here’s the same view yesterday when the storm had just started:

Snow

Luckily we don’t have anywhere to go today so we’ll just ride it out inside our cozy house.  Eventually we’ll have to get out there and shovel, and when we do I’ll take more pictures to show you.  In the meantime, maybe we should get to the blondies?  

Blondies

I know, I know – more sweets.  I just want to wrap up this week with a few last treats I made this holiday season.  Consider it a head start on baking ideas for next year :)  Generally, I’m not much of a blondie person, but these white chocolate-gingerbread blondies are definitely the exception to the rule.  The sweet white chocolate is the perfect counterpoint to the gingerbread flavor from the spices and molasses.  I thought the texture was great too – nice and chewy except around the edges, where the blondies were just slightly more crisp.  You can’t beat the simplicity of the recipe either – rather than baking sheet after sheet of cookies, you just pop one dish in the oven and wind up with a whole plate of blondies.  These would be a perfect addition to your holiday trays next year, or if you’d rather, I think they’d go over very well at your New Year’s Eve parties.  

White Chocolate-Gingerbread Blondies
adapted from Martha Stewart (as seen on Pink Parsley Catering)

2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses
10 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the dish with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on opposite sides so you can easily lift the blondies out. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla and molasses. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Add the white chocolate chips and beat quickly just to distribute – you could also fold them in with a rubber spatula, but this batter is quite heavy so I found it easier in the mixer.

Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish. I wet my fingers and used them to coax the batter into the corners of the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Allow the blondies to cool completely in the baking dish, about 2 hours. Use the foil “handles” to lift the blondies from the dish and cut into squares for serving.