posted in Cookies and Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

This week, I baked Cranberry Bliss Bars.  The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home.

They call them “White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies,” but if you’re a Starbuck’s fan… they’re clearly Cranberry Bliss Bars.

You can view a short video showing you how to make these bars toward the end of this post, then scroll to the bottom to print out the complete recipe so you can make them yourself at home!

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

I love to bake.  And if I’ve been baking, then you should know that it’s because of one of these 5 reasons:
1. I’ve developed or discovered a recipe that I have to try ASAP.
2. It’s raining
3. I’m falling off the diet wagon
4. I’m baking for something or someone
5. I’m depressed, and baking cheers me up!

Lucky for me, 98.9% of the time it’s #1.

The past week has been a roller coaster of emotions. I attended to my Mother in the hospital post-surgery each day. I watched my 10 year old get an opportunity to play quarterback and throw an exciting touchdown pass.

I lost a parking structure voucher and had to pay the maximum fine. I received emails with great opportunities attached.

I got a flat tire. I managed to create a handful of really yummy recipes for my cookbook.

I gained a pound. And I got in some good snuggle time with my 10-year-old boy, who made me pancakes on Sunday morning.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

I hate being emotional. I guess it makes me human. It makes owning DiorShow Waterproof Mascara absolutely essential.  

For some reason, feeling all weepy and weird usually makes me feel like baking (which is probably why I gained a pound).

This is a bar that is sort of the ultimate in comfort.  I kind of wanted to just pick up the whole SLAB and just take one big, fat, messy bite.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

These bars are topped with a white-chocolate-cream cheese frosting.  They’re sprinkled with dried cranberries and drizzled with white chocolate squiggles.  

Starbuck’s version adds an orange zest element to it.  I’m not into that, so I left it out.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

The first layer is blondie-like- so sweet, soft-ish, but firm- and a great base for this bar.  There’s white chocolate and dried cranberries mixed into the base too.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

Triangles seemed like the obvious shape to cut these into.  They’re much prettier than “squares,” and they have three syllables instead of one.  

I don’t know why I said that, but it seemed like something I needed to point out.  See?  I told you it’s been a strange week.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe - from RecipeGirl.com

I must say that these bars might cheer up even the gloomiest of people.  I’m not even a huge fan of white chocolate, and I could have eaten a whole bunch of this stuff.  

So yeah, they’re really, really good.  Starbucks Good.  Maybe better than SBux.

I forgot to mention a few more bright sides of my week- that the barking dog neighbors are moving out and our good friends are moving in, that I got 8 beautiful new cookbooks in the mail, and that I brainstormed some delightful new ideas for recipes coming up soon on the blog.  

Life is good, it’s just sometimes full of roller-coaster moments.  I just need to remind myself of that when life gets weird- make a cup of hot chocolate overflowing with marshmallows (spike it, if need be), relax, and accept the oodles of hugs and love that my husband showers me with daily.  

I’m one lucky girl.  And I love to bake!   If you lived near me, you’d get stuff.  

Good stuff.  Yummy stuff.  Stuff I don’t want to eat but I do, and then I’m desperately looking for someone to give it to (like these bars).

Click below to watch a short video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the end of this post to print out the complete recipe.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen bars

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes + cooling time

Cranberry Bliss Bars

A white- chocolate cranberry blondies recipe that is very reminiscent of Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Ingredients:

BLONDIE LAYER:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

FROSTING:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
  3. Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips:

  • If you'd like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.
SOURCE: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted slightly from Taste of Home)

Here are a few more holiday bar recipes you might enjoy:

Comments

  1. postedNov 14, 2011 7:34 PM

    This definitely would cheer me up, rain or shine!

    Sending good thoughts to your mom’s recovery.

  2. postedNov 14, 2011 5:47 PM

    Ah Lori, we totally ALL have those moments and 99.9% of the time, when I’m having one, you can find me knee-deep in butter and sugar. So I totally understand. I made these a few years ago for a potluck and they were a HUGE hit. I hope they made your week better!

  3. postedNov 14, 2011 4:17 PM

    These look delicious! Pretty much anything on a blondie base is a good start, and topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting? My life is now complete 🙂

  4. postedNov 14, 2011 2:21 PM

    Must make! Might have to run to the store for some white chocolate

  5. postedNov 14, 2011 1:22 PM

    Never been a giant fan of cranberries in my desserts, but you’ve totally sold me!

  6. postedNov 14, 2011 11:40 AM

    Your bars look amazing! I am sure they taste a million times better than the Starbucks version! Lovely!

  7. postedNov 14, 2011 10:21 AM

    Wishing I lived near you so I could enjoy some of your baking in person rather than virtually! These bars look fabulous… and from the sound of it, you had a lot of good news to offset the not-so-great stuff. Enjoy another cup of hot chocolate and keep baking! 🙂

  8. postedNov 14, 2011 7:39 AM

    These are *definitely* better than anything SBux could crank out!! And perfect for the holidays–what is it about cranberries and white chocolate? 🙂

  9. postedNov 14, 2011 7:04 AM

    I used to work at Starbucks and the Cranberry Bliss Bars would sell out ever.single.day. Without fail! Totally saving this recipe.

  10. postedNov 14, 2011 6:59 AM

    Looks and sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try myself.

  11. postedNov 14, 2011 6:41 AM

    What a crazy week you’ve had. When I get stressed, I get sad. and when I get sad, I bake. So I can relate to number 5! Hopefully today starts a better week for you!

  12. postedNov 14, 2011 6:13 AM

    I’ve seen this recipe around and it’s on my list to bake this holiday season! the bars look great!

  13. postedNov 14, 2011 5:28 AM
    The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    Oooh yes please! We loooove the bliss bar at Starbucks and are so excited we can make them at home! These look perfect!

  14. postedNov 14, 2011 5:22 AM

    These look so stinkin’ good!

    So sorry to hear about your mom, but what a sweet 10 year old to make you pancakes. Mine is only 7 but I hope he’s as sweet as that (and has the cooking ability) in a few years!!

    Can’t WAIT to see you in a few weeks!! xoxo

  15. postedNov 14, 2011 5:02 AM

    Hehe, I can completely relate to your reasons for baking! You had quite the week…hopefully this week will slow down a bit and only include the very best things 🙂 Gorgeous bars, and they sound delicious!

  16. postedNov 14, 2011 4:58 AM
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    That really is an up and down week! Those are the same 5 reasons I usually bake, although often times it is more than one of the above:-)

  17. postedNov 14, 2011 4:09 AM

    These seem like the perfect antidote to a tough week. Gorgeous pics and delicious combination of flavours!

  18. postedNov 14, 2011 3:52 AM

    This is just what I need right now. Yum!

  19. postedNov 14, 2011 3:49 AM
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    These look better than the Starbucks variety!

    And sorry that you lost your parking ticket and that your mom was in the hospital.

    With all the rain we’ve had…I too have been baking and it’s put a wrench into food photography for AFTER all that baking has been done. My lighting is horrible. lol

    These bars…Lori…look so wonderful!

  20. postedNov 14, 2011 3:40 AM

    Lori, that cream cheese topping always gets me..reminds me of carrot cake but dried cranberries are fine by me too!

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