Every holiday season, Starbucks rolls out Cranberry Bliss Bars. And who doesn’t like them? And if you want to try making a similar cranberry dessert at home, you will be spoiled for choice. The Internet is flush with recipes for cranberry bars. More precisely, a Google search for “Starbucks cranberry bliss bars recipe” yielded 1.9 million results! But can a home chef really improve on Starbuck’s mouthwatering cranberry bliss bar?
The Cranberry Bliss Bar is a registered trademark of the Starbucks Coffee Company. And it is defined as a “blondie cake with dried cranberries [which is] finished with a layer of cream-cheese icing flecked with orange zest and a sprinkle of dried cranberries”.
Like many people, I enjoy the Cranberry Bliss bars at Starbucks. However, I often dislike how overly sweet everything at Starbucks is.
When I stumbled upon this recipe, I saw the potential to make a cranberry bar that was significantly better than one of the “just another copycat” recipes that flood the Internet.
I felt I could improve on the cranberry bars served at Starbucks where I felt it was actually lacking by cutting the sweetness, enhancing the flavour profile, and increasing the quantities of the two ingredients I liked most: white chocolate chips and cranberries.
And I call it the Divine Cranberry Cream Cheese Bar.
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Devine Cranberry Bars with Cream Cheese
Ingredients - Bars
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 tsp orange oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1 /2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp mace
- 1 orange zest
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 oz white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup cranberries, soaked in Cointreau overnight or up to a week before baking
Ingredients - Frosting
- 16 oz cream cheese. softened
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange oil
- 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped, soaked in Cointreau overnight or up to one week before baking
- 3 squares white baking chocolate, melted
- 1 tbsp corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
Instructions - Bars
- Line a 15x10 jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat together melted butter and brown sugar over medium speed with an electric mixer.
- Add in eggs, orange zest, 1 tsp orange oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp of the orange Cointreau which was drained from the dried cranberries;
- Beat until mixed well. Sift spices, baking powder, salt, and flour together. Add to mixture and beat together until just blended. Do not over-mix.
- Stir in white chocolate chips and cranberries by hand.
- Spread evenly into the bottom of pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes, until set and golden brown at the edges. Do not over-bake or bars may be hard or tough.
- Remove from oven and plac epan on a wire rack to cool. Allow bars to cool completely before topping with frosting.
- Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool. Allow bars to cool completely before topping with frosting.
Instructions - Frosting
- Drain dried cranberries. Then spread evenly over a couple of paper towels and pat dry.
- Mix softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar in mixer. Add almond extract, vanilla, and orange oil and mix until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled bars.
- In a double boiler or with in a bowl over boiling water, add three squares of white chocolate, 1 tablespoon of corn syrup, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and mix until melted and smooth. Then drizzle over bars with a fork.