Cranberry Bliss Bars, My Holiday Guilty Pleasure

| December 14, 2014

Around this time of year I look forward to my holiday reunion with a delicious concoction known as Cranberry Bliss Bars, when it resurfaces for the holiday season at Starbucks.  This bite of deliciousness is a blondie snuggled under a layer of sweet cream cheese icing and tart dried cranberries. It is finished with a white drizzle with hints of orange zest. There is something uniquely festive about this combination of ingredients and it is quite irresistible.

This year I decided to bake my own and added white chocolate as a surprise ingredient that takes it it to another level.  This version has half the calories, but all the chewiness of the Starbucks version and still contains the yummy lick of cream cheese frosting. 

This is perfect for the Christmas season and with this recipe, you can enjoy Cranberry Bliss Bars all year long. 

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ Cup light brown sugar, packed down
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • ¾ Cup Dried Cranberries, plumped in hot water and drained (See Note)
  • ¾ Cup White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F

Grease or Line a 10 x 15” Pan with Parchment Paper

In an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugars for about 5 minutes, add the eggs, one at a time and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes. Sift the flour and baking powder and beat into the wet ingredients. Add the ginger and beat briefly. Stir in the cranberries and chips just until incorporated.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a fork test comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool before frosting.

 

FROSTING

Ingredients:

  • 4 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter Softened
  • 3 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat until fluffy . Thin with 1 tablespoon of milk to make it more spreadable if necessary Spread evenly over cooled bars.

 

TOPPING

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Rind
  • 1/3 Cup White Chocolate Chips (Preferably Ghiradelli)
  • ½ Teaspoon Vegetable Oil

Directions:

THE GARNISH

Sprinkle orange zest over the frosted bars. Coarsely chop 1/3 cup plumped dried cranberries. Sprinkle over the frosted bars.

FOR THE DRIZZLE

Microwave the  white chocolate and oil  together for one minute, stirring several times  until melted. Drizzle the white chocolate diagonally across the bars.

Set for at least an hour before cutting in triangles by cutting squares and then diagonally cutting each.

Refrigerate or freeze.  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 3 dozen pieces

 

HOW TO PLUMP DRIED CRANBERRIES

Combine the dried cranberries and either water or orange juice or orange liquer in a small saucepan and heat gently until the liquid warms and the fruit plumps up, then remove from heat and strain before using. This also works well for raisins and other dried fruits.

Also check out our FAT RAISIN recipe which can be used for the dried cranberries as well.

Happy Holidays. Enjoy!

Charlotte Goldblatt

cgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

RAISE YOUR SPIRITS AND GET THE DISH!

 

 

 

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