The holidays are officially upon us. I, like so many others, fall in love with this time of year all over time and time again. There’s just something so special about a tree twinkling with bright lights, Christmas music playing softly in the background and being among family and friends at this time of year that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
For me, one of the most fun of all the Christmas traditions is gift giving. I just love picking out that perfect gift for someone, knowing their face will light up when they receive it. The gift doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy or expensive; in fact, some of my favorite gifts to give family and friends are of the edible variety, costing practically nothing. So this year, I’ve partnered up with Diamond of California in their #giftsinjars campaign to bring you the perfect edible gift to give to family and friends.
Even more, I turned the actual making of the gift into a festive holiday party with my girlfriends, and there’s nothing I love more than a good old fashioned holiday party. We sipped on hot chocolate, chatted incessantly and assembled these White Chocolate, Walnut and Cranberry Blondies to give out as gifts. It was the perfect excuse to get together, nibble on a little food and share lots of laughs while simultaneously checking off a few gifts from our lists.
I know I’ve said over and over and over (and over!) again that I don’t really have the baking gene, but I have to brag a little bit here, because I really hit it out of the ballpark with these guys. Not only do they have that perfect chew factor you look for in the perfect blondie, but they’re also wickedly gooey, almost falling apart before you can even take the bar from the serving platter to your mouth. Melted white chocolate and butter in the base batter facilitate in an irresistibly rich blondie, while white chocolate chips, toasted walnuts and sweet cranberries give the perfect amount of texture and crunch in each bite.
If you’re planning on giving these as gifts, the ingredients you’ll need are, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, Diamond of California walnuts (they’re truly the best!), dried cranberries, baking soda and white chocolate chips. You can layer each ingredient as you wish, just make sure to leave a ½ cup of white chocolate chips at the top so the recipient can easily get them out since they need to be melted with the butter. Once you layer all of the ingredients, all that’s left is to package them beautifully!
Now, I don’t proclaim to be the craftiest person in the world, but even I managed to make these look adorable. I just bought some festive baker’s twine at the craft store along with some blank gift cards, holiday stamps (which were 40% off at Michael’s), a gold stamp pad and some cute snowflake and Christmas tree accessories and BAM instant gift. I set everything out on the table for the girls to get creative, and everyone made their own gift tags and decorated jars to their taste. It would even be the perfect project to get the kiddies involved with, just make sure you don’t have a white tablecloth below all the stamping material like I did…. Clearly I don’t have any kiddos of my own yet…
To give the instructions with the gift, I like to print directions in a pretty font on a small piece of paper and attach it to the back of the gift tag, or you could even print it larger on a good quality card stock and attach it to the back of the jar. Either way, it’s a gift anyone will adore because who doesn’t love a gift that’s handmade AND edible?!
- 6 tablespoons stick melted butter
- 1 cup white chocolate, divided
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¼ cup flour + 1 tablespoon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon grey salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped Diamond of California walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, grease and flour.
- In a medium bowl mix together, flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, salt, cranberries, walnuts and ½ cup white chocolate chips.
- In a measuring cup or heat-proof bowl add butter and white chocolate. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each until chocolate and butter is melted. Let cool slightly. Once butter and chocolate has cooled, mix in eggs and vanilla. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown, the top is slightly crackled, but bars are still gooey. DO NOT OVER BAKE!
- Let cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into 9 squares
- Mix flour, baking soda and salt together.
- Layer flour, followed by brown sugar, white sugar, cranberries, ½ cup of the white chocolate chips and walnuts. Place remaining white chocolate chips on top. Decorate jar as desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour.
- Remove ½ cup of white chocolate chips from the top of the jar. Place in microwave safe dish along with 6 tablespoons of butter. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each until butter and chocolate are completely melted. Let cool.
- In the meantime, pour remaining ingredients in jar into a medium bowl. Mix until all ingredients are evenly combined.
- Once butter and chocolate have cooled, stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Add to dry mixture. Stir just until combined.
- Pour into prepared dish and bake 20 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown. The top should be slightly crackled, but the center should still be slightly gooey. DO NOT OVER BAKE!
- Let cool completely before cutting into 9 squares.
Thank you to Diamond of California for sponsoring this post!!