Dark Chocolate Cranberry Blondies (& Kristin Hoffman’s New Cookbook!)

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!

triangle shaped blondies with dark chocolate and dried cranberries

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!

Pre Order Kristin Hoffman's Cookbook

Official release date is November 16, 2021 and you can preorder now:

Baker Bettie Better Baking Book Cookbook cover image

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 originally tried them with white chocolate and dried cranberries, but 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.”

butter, orange, cranberries, vanilla, brown sugar, and other ingredients

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.

If you like to get creative with baking recipes, this book is a goldmine!

blondies before and after baking in a cake pan

triangle shaped blondies with dark chocolate and dried cranberries

stack of dark chocolate orange cranberry blondies

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
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triangle shaped blondies with dark chocolate and dried cranberries

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

  • Author: Sally
  • 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

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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 (105gdried cranberries

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Transfer the mixture into your prepared pan and spread evenly. 
  5. Bake for 28-33 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  6. 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.
  7. Store leftover blondies at room temperature in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reprinted with adaptations with permission from Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book

Keywords: dark chocolate cranberry blondies

49 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, thanks for introducing the cookbook and recipe. Does the cookbook also include metric conversions like you do?

    1. It sure does! In her book, you’ll find step-by-step photos, plus images and weight + volume ingredient measurements for every recipe.

  2. The cookbook sounds wonderful. I’ll have to put it on my Christmas wish list for sure.
    What do you think about using dried cherries instead of cranberries?

    1. You will love this cookbook. And I was thinking dried cherries would be wonderful in these with the dark chocolate and orange zest. Yum!

      1. These look fabulous. I can’t wait to make them. Can I exclude the zest without altering the flavor profile too much? Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of zest or orange/chocolate combo fans in my house . Thank you.

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Absolutely!

    2. Totally making these with dried cherries!!! Can’t wait!

  3. Thank you for sharing the recipe and introducing the new cookbook which I have now pre-ordered.
    I will be making these brownies for my Soldiers boxes as they love their brownies!

  4. Desiree Zicko says:

    Hi Sally!
    This looks great, thanks for sharing & I can’t wait to try it.

    I slightly prefer using unsweetened dried cranberries in baking – do you think those will work in this recipe?

    Love the recipes & happy fall baking!

    Desirée Zicko
    Reading, MA

    1. Hi Desirée! I use sweetened, but the blondies are plenty sweet so unsweetened would be fine. Happy fall baking to you too!

  5. Do you think substituting dried cherries would work?

    1. Absolutely!

  6. These look yummy, haven’t made blondies before. Probably going to add a dash of cinammon, nutmeg and cardamom when I make some, thanks for the recipe!

  7. These look amazing. As usual ;). Can’t wait to try them.

  8. Diane PUDDESTER says:

    Hi Sally, as soon as I saw these, I knew I had to make them. Ridiculously easy and so moist and flavorful. The orange zest adds a beautiful taste to them. Thank you for sharing this recipe,will definitely make again. It will look attractive on a tray of baked Christmas cookies.

  9. Do I measure the flour the same way you do in your recipes – spooned and leveled? This looks amazing and can’t wait to try!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily! Yes, we spoon and level as well as weigh our ingredients in testing. You can read more about measuring baking ingredients here!

  10. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Any thoughts about using frozen cranberries instead of dried? I think I’d prefer the less-sweet fruity sour flavor in the blondies, but I know it would add moisture. Thank you!

    1. Hi Brooke, her recipe states dried fruit is best. Let us know if you test anything though!

  11. Do you think it would work with GF Measure for Measure flour. Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We haven’t tested that substitution, but let us know if you do!

  12. These blondes sf they are baked in a 9”x12” pan, would you double the ingredients? What would you do for the eggs? Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Janet, for a larger pan, I 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.

    2. I make a blondie recipe that is basically the same and double the recipe will fit nicely into a 10×15 jelly roll pan, bake 25-30 min at 350 so bake a little longer at 325.

  13. what do you think about adding nuts? how many? thank you!

    1. Hi Jay, this recipe can withstand 1 and 1/2 cups of add-ins, so you can use 1/2 cup each dark chocolate, cranberries, and nuts.

  14. Do you think brown butter would make a difference in this recipe? I love it in chocolate chip cookies.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Caroline, We haven’t tested it but we don’t see why it wouldn’t work! We actually use brown butter in these brown butter apple blondies and it’s delicious!

  15. Sally I made these yesterday and they turned out absolutely delicious. I followed your recipe exactly except I had no orange here for the rind but I had Orange Oil and I used that instead. The combination of these three ingredients were so well together that this is a recipe that I will now be using to send to the Service Members packages I send every month. I also have Kristin Hoffmans new cookbook pre-ordered on Amazon and looking forward in receiving it. Thank you both for sharing this amazing recipe.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      We’re so glad to hear this recipe was a success for you, Deb! Enjoy Kristin’s new book!

  16. Sally, I made this recipe this afternoon, and it’s amazing! I have a question: Can this recipe be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 Pyrex? Thank you for your help. Gina

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Gina! 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.

  17. Very informative

  18. Very easy to make and I love the chewy texture but next time I will add less chocolate and cranberries to lessen the sweetness and allow more of the blondie to shine through.

  19. Hi Sally! This recipe is absolutely amazing! My husband and friends enjoyed it tremendously! I have one friend who has gluten intolerance, what are your thoughts about substituting almond flour for the all purpose flour? Thanks for your guidance in baking!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Saule, we’re so happy to hear this recipe was a hit! We haven’t tested this recipe with any gluten free alternatives. Almond flour would take quite a bit of recipe testing. Since it absorbs wet ingredients differently than all-purpose flour, it’s not always a 1:1 swap. If you decide to do any experimenting, we’d love to know how it goes!

  20. Yum! I love the round pan!

  21. Amanda Sheahan says:

    Did this in a square pan. Used cherries because I didn’t have cranberries. The dried fruit’s a nice counter-balance to the sweetness of the blondie and the chocolate. This one is a keeper.

  22. I only have semisweet chocolate. Do you think that would work?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Definitely!

  23. These Blondies are delicious! I love the combo of the dark chocolate and dried cranberries! Very moist and chewy. Shared bars with friends and they all asked for recipe!

  24. Sally-this recipe sounds interesting. I’m curious why the low temp? Maybe to get into the center without burning the outside? I guess I need to get the book to cure my curiosity! Love to read the why behind the methods:).

    1. Hi Michelle, that’s exactly right– I found the slightly lower temperature so interesting. It helps the blondies cook a little more evenly. (I find edges can brown/harden very quickly in these buttery treats.)

  25. Just the right amount of tart to sweet! Excellent recipe. These are chewy, gooey and delicious!

  26. Hi!

    These sound wonderful and I can’t wait to make them! Could I make these in a regular or square or even min cupcake tins? If so, would I have to change the recipe and the bake times?

    Thank you so much

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hannah, You can use an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with no recipe changes!

  27. Sally I got so many compliments on these! I took them to work and they were gone in an hour. For reference I’m a nurse and work with mostly young girls who are all “always on a diet” and usually have to beg for them to try the treats I bring.
    I used semi sweet since I didn’t have dark chocolate, and also added a tiny dash of cinnamon and cardamom. A+++++

  28. These are delicious. I used semi sweet chocolate that I had on hand and fresh cranberries. I added about a cup of the cranberries and coated them in flour before folding into the batter. Turned out perfect. Thank you!

  29. I made these for a small get together and they were wonderful! Cut small wedges and the contrast with the salt, sugar and dried cranberries was perfect. Got a message the next day that one of my guests made them too. Thank you for such wonderful recipes!

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