I first tried a Cranberry Bliss Bar at a cookie exchange last year. Have you had one? Essentially it's a Blondie, with fruit and white chocolate in the dough, topped with cream cheese frosting and more fruit and white chocolate (covers lots of food groups according to Grant).
Red and white, rich and chewy. This cookie was made for Christmas! I looked for the recipe from my friend Karen (who brought it to the exchange), but no luck. Could not find it. I emailed Karen and asked her to resend it via email. She couldn't find it either. She sent me links to a couple of recipes she had used, but wasn't exactly sure which of the two was her favorite. This is an all to familiar story in my world. I gave up the search and started from scratch to make my own recipe.
Oh, I should also say- last week, when I was in the great state of Washington for two days, I bought a Cranberry Bliss Bar from the king of coffee who made this bar famous. I thought if I was going to make their bar, I should make sure my copycat tasted as good, if not better than the real deal.
I read a few recipes, and compared to the official Starbucks ingredient list. Then I worked on my own version. I wanted a recipe that was easily baked in a 9x13. Most of the recipes I found called for an 8x8, or a jelly roll pan - a 9x13 is the perfect size. I also like the white chocolate melted into the batter instead of chunks of chips. Grated orange zest gave the topping a little fresh zip.
Everyone who taste-tested gave these bars two thumbs up.
For a fraction of what you'll pay at Starbucks, you can have the whole pan. Freshly made in your kitchen.
Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars (copycat)
A Bountiful Kitchen
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract, or about one tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup Craisins
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk to thin, if needed
1/2 cup Craisins, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips, or white chocolate baking bar 4 oz
few drops of vegetable or canola oil to thin white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center of oven.
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs. Beat for about one minute. Add orange and vanilla extracts and set aside.
In a small separate bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir, heat for 30 seconds. Stir again. Microwave again for a few seconds. In my microwave this takes a total of 1 min 15 seconds. The chocolate will melt as you stir.
When melted, scrape into bowl with butter and sugars. Mix with mixer until incorporated. Or, alternatively, you may just mix the chips into the batter.
Add the flour, powder, soda, ginger, sea salt and cornstarch all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and ingredients are incorporated. Fold in Craisins.
Spread mixture evenly in a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let cool completely.
Make frosting by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add a little milk if needed. Spread frosting on cooled crust.
Sprinkle the chopped Craisins over the top of the frosting.
Prepare toping by placing white chocolate in a small ziplock baggie. Microwave for about one minute. Pour in small amount of oil to help white chocolate pour smoothly.
Using hands, press white chocolate chips together in bag to mix with oil and help melting process. Microwave a few more seconds if needed. Snip off a small corner of the bag and squeeze/drizzle over the frosted bars. Grate a bit of orange rind over the top of the finished bars, if desired.
Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, cut when completely cooled and set up.
Best stored in refrigerator.
Cut into squares, then half the squares on the diagonal to form a triangle.
Yield about 30 small bars.
-These are very simple to make. They are basically a blondie recipe, with white chocolate added, then frosted and topped with more melted white chocolate. To simplify, just add the white choc chips to the batter and skip the melted drizzle. Just add more White chocolate chips to the topping along with the chopped Craisins.