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Cranberry Bliss Bars

Posted Dec 13 2009 6:51pm

One of my favorite memories of my time working at Starbucks was our annual Christmas party. We'd go to the training center and try all of the new beverages, pastries, and get our red aprons! I am not a huge Starbucks pastry fan (because I see the nutritional information on the boxes), but at Christmas, I find a way to look past that and let myself enjoy a piece of gingerbread loaf, a peppermint brownie, and of course, the cranberry bliss bar.

The cranberry bliss bar has always been one of my favorites, sweet, tart, like a cross between a cookie and a cake, with delicious cream cheese frosting... what's not to love?
For my housewarming party, I decided to use my favorite Starbucks pastries as inspriation. I made gingerbread cookies (rather than a loaf cake), cheesecake swirl (were supposed to be peppermint) brownies, and then these cranberry bliss bars. They're very close to the original, and so cheap to make at home rather than buy a tray for $15 bucks at Starbucks!

I found this recipe on Recipezaar, but changed it a little bit. I thought the ginger seemed to be too high, as I don't taste much in the original at all. For the drizzle, I used white chocolate, which is closer to what Starbucks uses.

Cranberry Bliss Bars
recipe adapted from Recipezaar

Cake:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Drizzle:
8 oz. white chocolate
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well.
Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand.
Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges.
Let cool.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.
When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake.
Sprinkle cranberries over top.
Add white chocolate and cream to a small microwave safe bowl, heat on 10 second intervals until melted and smooth.
Drizzle over the top layer, chill for 4 hours.
Slice into triangles, makes 16-20 triangles.
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