Cranberry Bliss Blondies

cranberryblissblondies

Remember my happy accident Chicken Tortilla soup that ended up being something completely different from what I originally intended? Well, this time, I made what I intended, but it didn’t work out just right…

My LifeGroup had our Christmas party this past Friday, and we all brought a drink and a type of cookie. The apple cider that Andrew and I whipped up in the crockpot came out great! And, in the end, so did my Cranberry Bliss Blondies. But it was an adventure getting there for sure.

Okay, so, as you know, we’re actually currently on a cruise. So, the week leading up to our cruise, specifically the weekend, was a little crazy. Making sure we had everything we needed, washing all of our clothes, trying to get the house in order so we could come home to a clean home, and all the other stuff you do before you go out of town for an extended time. Well, mix into that homemade cookies for a Christmas party, and you’ve amped up the craziness!

I knew the party was Friday at 6pm, at our LifeGroup leaders’ house. Thankfully, their house is only about 10-15 minutes from ours, though. The recipe I used (I’ll link to it at the end) said these bars should take about 35 minutes for prep time and 20 minutes of cook time. Not a big deal. Except I had to run to the grocery store to get half of the ingredients! (Never have I ever been so grateful to not be scheduled to go into work!)

I woke up in the morning, did my at-home admin work, and ran out the door. I headed to Office Depot to ship Sarah’s Christmas gift (Yay!!!), then to the post office to drop something else in the mail, then to the grocery store. Grocery store number 1, that is. I was getting ingredients for the bars and the cider, so, when the first store didn’t have apple cider, I was kinda screwed. I put everything back (because common courtesy), and I headed across the street. Thankfully, grocery store number 2 had cider, and had cheaper white baking chocolate, so win-win! Got everything I needed, plus some easy box dinners and face wash, because no one ever goes to the store without remembering at least a few extra items to grab.

I arrived home: 3:30pm. Two hours til we need to leave. Plenty of time! Hubby had asked if there was anything he could do to help, and I asked him to get some dishes done, specifically the ones I needed. He obliged, and I was super grateful. I started mixing. He buttered the pan and pre-heated the oven. I followed the recipe, but hubby was becoming increasingly aware of the time. He hopped in the shower while I finished mixing and put the blondie layer in the oven. He got out of the shower, and we both became increasingly aware of the time. To save time, I went ahead and mixed up the frosting. Timer went off, he looked at the blondies, they looked done, he pulled them out. Placed the rack on top of the pan, flipped it over, aaaaandddd… nothing. We both looked at it for about 2.3 seconds, then we saw loosening. But wait! Chunks began to fall from the pan to the rack, and we were both frozen. I realized what was going on first, and shouted for him to flip it back over! He did, but not before it scooted down. I told him to put it back in the oven to finish baking (though, 20/20 hindsight, it probably was actually done at that point), but he shoved the fallen pieces back in the pan and stuck it in.

At this point, we’re both flustered because we’re behind schedule and nothing is turning out as expected. (Did I mention that we couldn’t find the cheesecloth to tie up the spice bundles for the cider?! Luckily, we had some coffee filters that did the trick.) We let them bake for a few more minutes, then pulled them out. Andrew suggested I just go ahead and frost them in the pan, then we could scoop them onto my Christmas tray once we got to the party. Also, bonus for us, the back left burner doubles as a heat vent for the oven. Since we had to melt 6 ounces of white baking chocolate, we put the pieces in a glass measuring cup and set it over the hole. Worked like a charm. Sprinkled some dried cranberries on those bad boys, drizzled the melted chocolate, and we were out the door!

We arrived in one piece, with our blondies mostly in one piece, and a funny story too. Plus, the blondies and the cider tasted great, despite their looks.

Recipe from Recipe Girl: Cranberry Bliss Bars.

TIPS:

  1. The recipe talks about several bowls, so let me break it down for you. I used one microwaveable bowl to melt the butter in, and it was big enough to stir in brown sugar. I then dumped this into the larger mixing bowl. I whisked all the dry ingredients in the smaller mixing bowl, then, after adding the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mix, I added the dry ingredients. Then once the base layer is in the oven, you can use either mixing bowl for the frosting. Translation: 1 microwaveable bowl, 2 mixing bowls.
  2. Be sure to thoroughly grease the pan. Part of what caused our bar to break was that parts of it stuck to the pan. Even when we were scooping it out later to eat it, pieces were still sticking to the pan.
  3. The blondie layer essentially has the consistency of a brownie, so it’s still fairly soft while it’s warm. Be sure to put the rack directly on top of the blondie layer in order to transfer it from pan to rack. This way, the blondie won’t have to fall an inch or so, thereby avoiding breaking.

So, tell me. Have you had a baking disaster that you managed to pull back from the brink?

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