Hot cross blondies


Kate Doran's sumptuous hot cross blondie recipe is a great Easter baking idea. Enriched with candied peel, warming spice and nutty brown butter, these white chocolate treats would make a creative departure from the usual Simnel cake or Hot cross buns.

First published in 2016

Baking at Easter is a great excuse to bring out all sorts of delicious ingredients – mixed spice, candied peel and plump sultanas – but don’t limit yourself to the traditional cakes and buns. These sweet and squidgy blondies make for the perfect tea time treat or can be dressed up for dessert, warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Where brownies are deeply chocolaty, these blondies are sweetly mellow with the warmth of spice and a kick of citrus. Browning the butter adds a nutty richness which perfectly complements the smooth white chocolate.

As with brownies, be careful when baking these blondies – you want to keep the middle fudgy rather than cake-like, so pull them out the oven when they still have a slight wobble. Just don’t forget to let them cool completely before slicing into squares!





  • 50g of candied peel
  • 50g of sultanas
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 160g of butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g of white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 165g of light brown sugar
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crosses


In a small bowl, combine the candied peel, sultanas, orange juice and zest and leave to soak for 1 hour
Preheat the oven 180°C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 22cm square tin with butter and line with baking parchment
In a small saucepan, melt the butter then continue cooking until the milk solids are toasted and the butter is lightly golden and nutty smelling. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in 100g white chocolate until melted and smooth
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars and vanilla until pale and light, then whisk in the cooled butter-chocolate mixture
Fold in the flour, followed by the soaked fruit and remaining white chocolate then scrape the mixture into your prepared tin
To make your crosses, whisk together the flour, 2–3 tbsp of water and the almond extract in a small bowl until you have a thick paste. Spoon or pipe a lattice across the top of your blondie mixture
Bake the blondies for 24–30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and fudgy and dense in the middle. You’re aiming for a brownie, rather than a cake-like texture, so a skewer inserted in the middle will come out slightly sticky
Allow the blondies to cool completely then remove from the tin and slice into 16 squares. For neater edges, pop the cooled slab in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour before slicing
Blondies will keep in an airtight container for 3–4 days and also freeze well for up to 1 month
First published in 2016

Kate Doran is the blogger behind 'The Little Loaf', specialising in nostalgic baking recipes.

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