Cinnamon, cranberry and vanilla bean blondies

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Here I am, cooking with cinnamon yet again. I was in the middle of spending a quiet, lazy Sunday at home when I suddenly got a craving to bake something. I knew that I was almost out of both flour and butter, not to mention chocolate. I could have made yet another batch of my new favorite spicy cinnamon and cocoa cookies, but I felt like I should try something new. I almost went for peanut butter, but something told me to look elsewhere. After a few minutes of scrolling through Evernote, I spotted a recipe for cinnamon blondies that luckily required very little flour and butter, very few ingredients overall, actually.

I set to work searching through my pantry, making sure I had all the right ingredients. That’s when I spotted the cranberries. Then my brain began to whir… Cranberries, vanilla bean, rich brown sugar. Yes, this what exactly what I needed.

The recipe was super simple. Whenever butter is involved, especially in cookies, I cringe when the recipe asks me to cream it with sugar. I don’t own a mixer or a food processor, so this step is especially tedious. I do it anyway, giving myself a good workout in the process, but whenever I can avoid doing this by melting or better yet browning my butter, I do. For these blondies, all you have to do is melt your butter with the brown sugar, stir in the eggs and vanilla, and add it to the sifted dry ingredients. Nothing could be simpler, or more rewarding. The only thing that would have improved this dish would have been a nice, fragrant scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

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Cinnamon, cranberry and vanilla bean blondies
Adapted from William Sonoma

Ingredients:

3/4 stick of butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 C brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, or 2 t vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 C flour
1/4 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/4 C dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a small square pan with some butter. Add the butter and the brown sugar to a small saucepan over low heat. Gently melt the butter, oil and incorporate the sugar, stirring constantly for about five minutes. Once it begins to bubble, turn off the heat and add your vanilla. Let the mixture cool about five minutes.

Add your egg and egg yolk and stir well. In a large bowl, sift in the flour, salt and cinnamon. Now simply add the sugar/butter/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Pour into your baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, until a lovely, light crust forms and a knife comes out clean. The blondies will be very chewy on the inside.

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