These dark chocolate cranberry blondies start with Kristin Hoffman’s Master Blondie recipe found in her cookbook Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Cookbook. In her cookbook, she shows several ways to spruce up and flavor her Master Recipes. These vanilla blondies are wonderfully dense and chewy with plenty of dark chocolate and dried cranberries, plus a hint of fresh orange zest. Recipe below!
Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book
Are you familiar with Kristin “Baker Bettie” Hoffman? She’s a trained chef and baking educator, runs the popular blog Baker Bettie, and just authored her debut cookbook. Publishing a cookbook, as you can guess, is an enormous feat but publishing Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book is an accomplishment like no other. This unique cookbook is broken into 2 extensive parts– Part 1 lays the groundwork for baking success. You’ll find step-by-step methods, carefully explained tutorials, and information on the role different ingredients play.
Having this knowledge brings you into Part 2 where you’ll find dozens of customizable master “foundation” recipes such as master bread doughs, sweet quick bread, savory quick bread, scones, biscuits, muffins, cakes, cookies, fruit pies, brownies, and more. Kristin shares her base recipes for these popular items and endless ways to customize them with flavors, add-ins, spices, herbs, and/or garnishes. You have flexibility and creative control!
This cookbook is perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike and you can read more about Kristin’s book over on her website. (While you’re on her website, you’ll find an abundance of baking tutorials and recipes. Her bread making tutorial is excellent.)
No baking detail has been spared! In her book, you’ll find step-by-step photos, plus images and weight + volume ingredient measurements for every recipe.
Kristin says “This book is the one that I wished I had when I was first learning. I wrote it so that other bakers have a practical resource that connects all the dots and shows how baking science, mixing methods, and master recipes all work together to create endless beautiful baked goods.”
And guess what? I authored the foreword for this book! It’s been a few years since I wrote a cookbook (I’m actually working on a proposal for my 4th!!!) so I was very honored that Kristin asked me to be part of this incredible project. I value her approach to teaching others online– she does so in such a familiar and friendly way– and have been a fan of hers for years!
Purchase Kristin Hoffman's Cookbook
Let’s Make Kristin’s Blondies!
There are 36 master recipes in this book and 100s of variations! Her blondies stuck out to me because they looked so rich, so buttery, and so irresistible. Kristin hands us plenty of options for flavoring our blondies including extracts, spices, nuts, oats, and other mix-ins. My mind swirled with possibilities, and I chose dark chocolate, dried cranberries, + orange zest. What a delicious combination and especially this time of year!
These dark chocolate cranberry blondies were an instant hit.
- Here’s What We Thought: Taste testers and I loved the base flavor– brown sugar, butter, and extra vanilla. I love these white chocolate cranberry cookies, so I originally tried them with white chocolate and dried cranberries. Here however, we all loved the dark chocolate version more because it toned down the sweetness. Orange zest adds a little fruity freshness– and its flavor really stands out on day 2– but you could definitely skip it if desired. The texture is dense and chewy with slightly crisp edges. Truly like a vanilla version of a chocolate brownie.
Kristin explains that we use the One Bowl Method for Cookies to make these blondies. She says, “The One-Bowl Method is typically utilized for cookies and bars with a chewy texture, which includes brownies and blondies as well as some forms of drop cookies. This method is extremely forgiving due to the fact that butter and sugar are not being creamed together, which requires much more attention to the process.”
Since Kristin’s cookbook recipes are so versatile, I thought it would be fun to show the blondies baked in a round cake pan instead of the traditional square pan. Bake time was the same and the wedge pieces are like blondie slices of pizza. You’ll love it. I use this same wedge method for my shortbread cookies, too!
If you like to get creative with baking recipes, this book is a goldmine!
I hope you enjoy these flavorful blondies and if you have a moment, check out Kristin’s new cookbook. I know many of you appreciate learning the science behind baking recipes and this cookbook is full of it! 🙂Print
Dark Chocolate Cranberry Blondies
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 33 minutes
- Total Time: 53 minutes
- Yield: 9 large or 16 small squares (or 12 wedges)
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These vanilla blondies are wonderfully dense and chewy with plenty of dark chocolate and dried cranberries, plus a hint of fresh orange zest. They’re made from Kristin Hoffman’s Master Blondie recipe found in her cookbook Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Cookbook.
- 3/4 cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick; 113g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt
- 1 and 1/3 cups (160g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (130g) bittersweet or dark chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
- 3/4 cup (105g) dried cranberries
- Prep: At least 30 minutes before baking, take the eggs out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Measure out the rest of the ingredients. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Position an oven rack in the center position. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan or 9-inch (23 cm) round pan with parchment paper or grease with non-stick spray.
- Blondies: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and melted butter. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and orange zest and whisk until well incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Add the baking powder, salt, and flour to the mixing bowl and use a silicone spatula or mixing spoon to stir together until well combined. Stir for about 30 seconds to purposely develop a little bit of gluten, which will give your blondies more chewiness. Fold in the chocolate and dried cranberries.
- Transfer the mixture into your prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for 28-33 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing into squares. Since I use a cake pan, I slice into 12 wedges.
- Store leftover blondies at room temperature in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
- Freezing Instructions: To freeze, it’s best to cool the blondies completely. Cut into squares/wedges and layer between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.
- Extra Egg Yolk: You need 1 whole egg + 1 extra egg yolk. The extra egg yolk promises a chewier, denser texture. Without it, blondies can taste a little dry and sandy.
- Chocolate: For the dark chocolate, I use a coarsely chopped 4-ounce bittersweet chocolate baking bar. You can find these in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips. A bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet chocolate bar or chocolate chips/chunks work. Feel free to replace with white chocolate.
- Reprinted with adaptations with permission from Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book
Keywords: dark chocolate cranberry blondies
Reader Comments & Reviews
Can this recipe be easily doubled to fit a 9 x 13 pan?
Hi Molly, For a larger pan, we recommend making the batter twice– separately, and spreading them together in your pan. Only fill halfway up the pan with batter. (Not sure if you will have extra.) We’re unsure of the best bake time.
I love this recipe and have made it several times. As we say in my house, it’s a keeper!
These are a unique and delicious combo – however they definitely taste the best the next day!
This is also a great base for your own mix-ins. I planned on making two batches until I realized that I didn’t have enough cranberries for the second batch, so I omitted the orange zest and toasted some chopped almonds in place of the cranberries and used white chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate and it turned out delicious as well!
These were wonderful. They had a lovely chewiness. I loved the hint of orange. SO EASY to make.
Hi Sally, this recipe looks amazing! is it possible to substitute the melted butter with canola oil?
Hi Talia, we really recommend sticking with butter for best taste and texture.
Hey Sally! Would leaving out the cranberries and orange alter the texture of the blondies? Is there a separate blondie recipe that’s just plain? These sound delicious, can’t wait to try them!
Hi Izzy, this is a great base blondie recipe for any mix-ins you prefer, or even plain!
This recipe was delicious, although I made one change. I replaced the chocolate chips with walnuts because I’m not crazy about chocolate chips in this type of recipe. Makes it a little too sweet for my taste. Chewy and tasty.
I made this in the morning, and although I covered the slices with plastic wrap, it was not as moist by the afternoon.
The recipe name hooked me to try it: dark chocolate (rich) dried cranberries (tons of flavor) blondies (butter&brown sugar kinda like chocolate chip cookies)
They were so easy to make, in the oven in minutes, one bowl to clean. I followed the recipe exactly! Wasn’t sure how fresh orange zest was going to taste ( but I’m a homemade hot fudge sauce on orange sherbet ice cream all my life!) they baked up perfectly, just like Sally said, a slight crisp on the edge and dense chewiness with the flavor packed combo of add-ins. I immediately cut the panful in half to freeze. These were that dangerous to MY baking (sampling) addiction!!! Make these 10 star bars or triangles, only your diet will be challenged.
By The Way!!! My name is Sally too!! It’s a serendipitous riot to be addicted to Sally’s Baking Addiction. I have all the books and swear by every recipe. One more thing, I’m not a Sarah nicknamed Sally, I’m a real Sally and my middle name is May ! Haha, I always say “Sally May and Sally May Not!” But I will always try a Sally McK recipe for certain sure!
I have a question – these are sooo good that I want to ship to friends. Do you think they are sturdy enough to be shipped?
Hi Judy, These should be fine to ship. We hope your friends enjoy them! See this post for tips on shipping.
Dynamite recipe – love the combo. I think they taste the best the next day. Love them – maybe too much – this could have a disastrous effect on my diet.
Tasty! I made these with dried cherries, chocolate chips, and the zest of 1 small orange. I also browned the butter. If I make them again (and I suspect I will :^), I’ll leave out the zest – I suspect it works better with dried cranberries than dried cherries, because it was a bit overwhelming in these.