the recipe for these roasted strawberry jam blondies came about in such a fun way. for the last few months, i've been asking my readers on instagram to help me create a new recipe each month. its such a fun way to get creative and see what happens! the final result is always a surprise as I never know which way the voting will go!
for April, the highest voted on words were, "strawberry," "chocolate," "cheesecake or baked dessert," and "loaf, cake or coffee cake." from there, I started brainstorming some fun, "haven't seen a thousand times" kind of recipes. the final recipes voted on were: strawberry coffee cake, strawberry chocolate chip skillet cookie and roasted strawberry jam caramelized white chocolate blondies. can you guess which recipe won out?! let's read on to find out why!
oh, and if you want to see those other ideas as actual recipes, make sure to let me know!
in a few words, these blondie bars are:
- slightly cake like
- notes of nutty caramel
- bright, slightly earthy strawberry
- the perfect blend of sweet + salty
- the perfect for a picnic or BBQ kind of cookie bar!
add this to your grocery list
you don't need much to make these bars, but you will need to pick up:
- fresh or dried bay leaves (optional for flavoring the jam)
- white chocolate bars
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- light brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- flaky salt for topping
from these ingredients you will make the roasted strawberry jam, caramelized white chocolate crumbles, and the blondies. if needed, the roasted strawberry jam can be subbed with a high quality store bought strawberry jam. I would opt for one with little added sugar. I did test the recipe once using this jam. it was very delicious, but a little sweet for my taste.
baking tools for the best jammy cookie bars
you will need some basic kitchen tools to make these roasted strawberry jam blondies:
- medium size pan
- for making the brown butter
- ceramic pan or baking sheet
- for roasting the strawberries for the jam
- baking sheet
- for roasting the white chocolate to make the crumbles
- large mixing bowl, whisk and spatula
- for making the blondies
- 9X9 aluminum baking pan
- this is the preferred size
- 8X8 can be used if needed, see recipe notes for tips to make this size work
- baking times will be slightly longer
- parchment paper
- to line the baking pan
best substitutes for this recipe
while I suggest you stick to the recipe as written (especially the first time making it), these are my best suggestions for possible swaps and subs for these strawberry blondie bars:
- caramelized white chocolate: this is really a key component! I actually reworked the recipe in order to bring out the flavors more. if you don't feel like taking 10 minutes to roast and 10-15 minutes to cool the chocolate, you can also use:
- pre-made "dulce" chocolate, chopped into small even pieces or melted (113g)
- omit completely
- do not use straight white chocolate for this recipe. in my opinion it will end up being too sweet.
- tip: make the day before and its ready to go just like any other chocolate!
- learn to make this here! (this is the "long" way and yields a melted chocolate vs crumbles)
- roasted strawberry jam: this is another fun, slightly time consuming part of the recipe. I recommend making this if you can, as you can control the amount of sugar. the flavors complement the blondie which is already sweet and buttery. you can also use:
- store bought jam: look for minimal added sugars in tart flavors like strawberry or raspberry
- tip: make this up one week in advance and bring to room temperature before using in the recipe
- bay leaves: I've been a bit obsessed with using savory herbs to balance the sweetness of fruit based desserts. this is 100% optional to use in the strawberry jam.
- it adds an earthy, pine back note to the strawberries
- balances the sweetness of the berries, while allowing the tart flavors to shine
- use it if you can
- buy a new batch (the ones sitting in the back of your spice cabinet won't have any flavor!)
- brown butter: normally I would say this is optional. however, this really worked with the CWC pieces and made the caramel flavor really shine through! I highly recommend you use this instead of melting unsalted butter.
- brown sugar: I used light brown sugar for this. in recipe tests I used a mix of light brown and granulated and then went straight for the light brown. I much prefer the chewiness when I use all light brown.
- sub with granulated or dark brown if needed
- if using alternative sugars, make sure its one you've baked with before
- eggs: these give structure and chewiness to the blondies. I didn't test these with a substitute, so I can't recommend one.
- baking powder: this gave *just* the right amount of lift to the blondies.
- omit if you don't have any
- all purpose flour: I did not test this with any other flour, however, I think you can safely sub with:
- 1:1 GF flour (180g)
- rye flour (180g)
- if you like rye blondies, check out my salted caramel rye blondie bars!
- cornstarch: this is added to the strawberries to create a jam like consistency.
- sub with arrowroot or other starchy thickener
- flaky salt: this can sometimes be done without thought to the final flavors. however, for these blondies, the salt really brings the flavors together. I recommend using it on half and leave the other half without. see what you like!
tips for the best blondies
- line the pan with parchment paper
- helps lift the blondies out of the pan
- use room temperature ingredients
- this promotes even mixing/less over mixing
- drop small spoonfuls of jam along the edges first, working to the center
- the edges can sometimes bake faster than the center
- this helps keep the blondies even
- resist dropping too much jam in one place!
- big drops means uneven baking in those spots
- use an oven thermometer
- very inexpensive
- gives you the exact temperature inside your oven
- look for the visual cues the blondies are done baking
- golden edges
- lightly golden across the top
- toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs
- cool the blondies in the pan for 30 minutes
- cool an additional 30 minutes on the cooling rack for the cleanest cut
love blondies? check out these favorites!
roasted strawberry jam blondies
- 2 half sheet baking sheets (for roasting berries and white chocolate)
- medium sauce pan (for browning butter)
- 9X9 aluminum baking pan
- parchment paper
- whisk and silicone spatula or big mixing spoon
- large mixing bowl
roasted strawberry jam
- 1 1/2 c strawberries, washed hulled and cut in half
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2-3 fresh or dried bay leaves, optional for flavor
roasted white chocolate (fast version of caramelized white chocolate)
- 4 oz (113g) good quality white chocolate, evenly chopped
caramelized white chocolate blondie base
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, browned to reduce down to 113 g (or 1/2 c) sub with 1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 c (180g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 c (200g) light brown sugar
- 2 eggs (113g) large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract
- 4 oz. (113g) roasted white chocoalte crumbles, cooled to room temperature (will be the color of caramelized white chocolate)
- 1/4 -1/3 c (59-79ml) roasted strawberry jam, cooled to room temperature sub with room temperature store bought strawberry jam or preserves
- flaky salt for topping, recommended
roasted strawberry jam
- Toss all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until all the berries are coated. Gently/lightly mash the berries while in the bowl. This is to help release some of the juices prior to roasting. Pour all the berries and any juices onto a clean baking sheet or ceramic baking dish. The ceramic dish is preferred if possible. Roast the berries at 375F (190C) for 20-25 minutes. Stir the berries after about 10-15 minutes. If any very large pieces remain, mash them to the same size as the smaller pieces. Roast until the berries the juices have thickened to a syrup consistency. Discard the bay leaves after removing the berries from the oven.Cool to room temperature before using in the blondies. The berries will thicken more as they cool. It is recommended to do this step at least an hour before using in the recipe. This can be made 3-4 days ahead.Reduce the temperature to 325F (163C)
roasted white chocolate
- Place evenly chopped pieces of white chocolate on a very clean and dry baking sheet. Roast the chocolate in the oven at 325F for 7-10 minutes. The chocolate will turn a caramel color and will look like dried out crumbles. This is exactly what this recipe calls for! Normally CWC is roasted for several hours at a very low temperature (245F). This results in a liquid white chocolate that is caramelized. If this is the route you want to go, you can! Roast the chocolate and use in the recipe at the same step as the crumbles. Increase the temperature to 350F (177C) once the chocolate is removed.
caramelized white chocolate blondie base
- Make brown butter about 30 minutes before you plan to bake blondies It will need about 15 minutes to brown and another 15 minutes to cool to room temperature (but still melted). To make the brown butter, melt butter in a clear heavy bottom sauce pan. Once the butter starts to foam, whisk continuously until brown bits start to form. Remove from heat, pour into clean bowl and cool 15 minutes to room temperature.
- Heat the oven to 350 F (177C). Line a square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving 1-2" overhang on two sides. This helps remove the blondies after baking.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a seperate bowl, whisk together the room temperature melted browned butter and brown sugar until smooth and no lumps of sugar remain. Whisk in eggs one at a time, until smooth and well combined. Whisk in vanilla extract until smooth and well combined.
- Add in the dry ingredients. Stir until most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated. A few flour streaks is totally fine!! Fold in roasted white chocolate crumbles. These bars will rise slightly, but are meant to be chewy! Don't overmix, but don't worry too much about how much you've mixed.
- Evenly drop scoops of batter into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, mini spatula or spoon, press the batter evenly into the corners and sides. Smooth the top as needed. Drop small spoonfuls of jam (about 1-2 tsp big) all around the pan. Focus on the edges, working to the center. Try not to get big "glops" of jam in one place (this takes longer to bake!). Using a toothpick or end of a knife, drag through the strawberry jam drops to create the swrils.
- Bake at 350 F for 32-37 minutes. Look for set , golden brown edges, slighly pulled from the sides of the pan and a golden brown top. A few moist crumbs is from the center is perfect. Top with flaky salt straight out of the oven. Mine were perfect between 33-35 using coventional baking. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Gently loosen the non lined edges from the pan using a butter knife. Lift the blondies from the pan using the overhang. Cool an additional 15-20 minutes before slicing for the cleanest cut.
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