Cranberry Pistachio Blondies

Am I the only person who finds the thought of making batches and batches of Christmas cookies intimidating?  There is so much rolling of dough, cutting of intricate shapes, hoping those shapes don’t spread into unrecognizable blobs while in the oven, whipping up batches of different colored icing that will likely be the wrong consistency and run all over the place like a bad finger painting experiment.  Plus, everyone has a “sure fire” “perfect” sugar cookie recipe, which inevitably ends up being less-than-perfect and far from sure-fire when tested in your own kitchen.

cranberry pistachio blondies

Let me introduce you to your new best friend in a sea of holiday craziness.  They are delicious, they sport the traditional red and green holiday colors and they look terribly fancy.  The brown sugar base blends with orange zest, tangy cranberries and salty pistachios for a flavor explosion that just gets better with time.  The best news, they are beyond simple to make.  The whole batch will be finished in less than an hour, which should leave you plenty of time for the requisite shopping/present wrapping/partying/celebrating.

orange, cranberries and pistachios

When I say simple, I mean crazy simple.  Make them with your kids, kind of simple.  It starts with a basic blondie batter which is jazzed up with fresh orange zest, chopped cranberries and pistachios.  Spread it in the pan.  Bake.  Drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Cut.  Serve.  Done.  Couldn’t be easier!  No cookie cutting.  No messing with multiple sheet pans of drop cookies.  No mounds of multi-colored frosting.

stacked blondies

If you are still interested in churning out dozens and dozens of holiday cookies (go you!), here are a couple ambitious food bloggers who have been assembling a variety of recipes for your perusal (and check here for some amazing recipes that won’t require you to purchase an entire new wardrobe after the holidays have passed).

cranberry pistachio blondies


Cranberry Pistachio Blondies

Yield: 30 blondies


2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup fine quality white chocolate chips
3 teaspoons vegetable oil


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or spray with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper and leave a one-inch flap hanging over two sides of the pan. Grease or spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugars and butter together until light and fluffy (roughly 4-5 minutes).
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Stirring to combine fully before adding the next egg.
- Stir in vanilla, orange juice and orange zest.
- Add the flour mixture in two batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir to combine.
- Mix in 1 cup chopped cranberries (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup) and chopped pistachios. Stir to combine.
- Spread batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until slightly golden and cracking across the top.
- Let cool, in pan, on wire rack.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine white chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring in between.
- Once fully melted, let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a zip top bag and snip off the tip (you can also use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate). Drizzle over the top of the cooled blondies with the remaining chopped cranberries.
- When the chocolate has completely cooled, carefully remove blondies from the pan with the parchment handles. Cut blondies into squares.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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6 Responses to “Cranberry Pistachio Blondies”

  1. 1
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — December 19, 2009 6:01 pm

    They are indeed gorgeous. I’m not so much intimidated by loads of dough as I am completely grossed out by the idea of it all at this moment in time! If I never see another Christmas cookie this year, I’ll be okay with it. Gotta go for these blondies instead!

  2. 2
    Gala — December 19, 2009 6:44 pm

    I love pistachiosss! Definitely easier making these than rolling out and icing tons of cookies!

  3. 3
    ldh — December 20, 2009 10:33 am

    I think I have everything I need to bake these today ~ looks yummy!

  4. 4
    Maria — December 21, 2009 4:28 pm

    I love your blondies! Perfect for the holidays. Thanks for the link love:) Happy Holidays!

  5. 5
    Itaven — December 21, 2009 9:04 pm

    Beautiful! Do they freeze well? I’m all about baking ahead…

  6. 6
    pannybear — December 28, 2009 5:09 pm

    These are not only Holiday Gorgeous, but Spirited Smart, as well!!!!!! Definitely going to make a batch.:o)

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