cranberry bliss bars

I don’t know about you, but I love Starbucks. Thankfully my family has set me up with enough gift cards from the holidays so I can visit often. One of my favorite treats at at Starbucks is their cranberry bliss bar. Even though I have made several stops at Starbucks over the past several weeks I never treated myself to one of these goodies. (It doesn’t mean I didn’t think about them.)

I thought about making these to have for Christmas though I never got around to making them (honestly we already had way too many goodies). I decided since I didn’t get them made for Christmas they would make a nice treat for New Years. They were delicious and I think the homemade variety is just as good, if not better, than the Starbucks variety.  One note: I thought Tyler would like these.  Instead he said, “They have too many flavors.”  Silly kid.  Oh well, I guess that means more for the adults.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

For the blondies:
2 1/4 cups Better Batter all-purpose gluten free flour (for non GF use all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 oz white chocolate chips

For the frosting and garnish:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
4 oz white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×11-inch baking pan with cooking spray or butter. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, together in a medium bowl; set aside.

To make the blondies: Melt the butter and stir in all of the sugar until the butter has completely incorporated; let the mixture cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed until the eggs have incorporated. With the mixer on low, gradually stir in the dry ingredients until no evidence of flour remains. The batter will be very thick. Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate.

Dump the batter to the prepared baking pan and with your hands, flatten it out into the pan. Baked for 18 to 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Let the pan cool on a wire rack until the blondies are completely cool.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once the cream cheese and powdered sugar are mixed together add the orange zest and mix until well combined.

To assemble: Spread the frosting evenly over the blondies (an offset spatula works great here) right out to the edges. Sprinkle the cranberries over the frosting. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cranberries and frosting. Before cutting, transfer the blondies to the refrigerator to allow the frosting to set up for 30 minutes. Cut the blondies triangles to serve. These bars can be kept at room temperature for a couple of days but they last better in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. Serve right from the refrigerator or slightly warmed to room temperature.

slice of cranberry bliss bar

Adapted from Smells Like Home