Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cranberry Bliss Bars

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

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

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

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.


Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) said...

Cranberry bliss bars are one of my favorite treats! I'm definitely going to bookmark this recipe!

Mnowac said...

Yum those look great, I may make these this weekend. Thanks!

Joanne said...

Too funny that we posted the same recipe on the same day. Yours look so much more put-together than mine! Gorgeous. I used all of the ginger and honestly the taste didn't end up being super pronounced. I think the heavenly cream cheese frosting out-shone it.

muddy footsteps said...

I've been at starbucks for almost 2 years and it's cranberry bliss bar time. Your re-creation looks so similiar! I bet they taste just the same!