How to Improve on Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

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?

cranberry-bar-with-espresso links-to-yummy-recipes 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

Every holiday season, Starbucks rolls out Cranberry Bliss Bars. And who doesn't like them? If you would like to try making them at home, this recipe is not as sweet as the recipe Starbucks uses. And it calls for more cranberries and more white chocolate. Try it. You'll like it!
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry bar, cranberry bar recipe, cranberry bars, cranberry dessert
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings;30 3 x 3 inch slices
Calories: 1717kcal


Ingredients - Frosting


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.


To make the pretty streaks on top of the bars, dip a fork into the melted chocolate. Then shake gently over the top of the bars.
Soaking: cranberries can be soaked in Cointreau overnight or up to one week.
How to store: once the bars are sliced, place them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
How to freeze: Prepare and slice as directed. Place the bars in the refrigerator for at least four hours, then cover tightly in a container with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw the bars overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
How to make gluten free: In order to make these bars gluten free, all you need to do is swap out the all purpose flour for your favorite gluten-free flour. I would recommend one of the blends from either Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur Flour.


Calories: 1717kcal | Carbohydrates: 393g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 1613mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 195g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 309mg | Iron: 13mg
Erik Taylor
Erik Taylor

Erik Taylor was heavily influenced by his two doting Aries grandmothers and an Aries Great Aunt, who enjoyed cooking holiday meals for their large families.

These strong willed women passed on many Plains States Depression Era traditions, which have formed the foundation of which Erik now shares in his time-honed recipes. Erik was born in Denver, Colorado. He has also lived in California and Hawaii. And he now the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, Erik has a passion for photography and a love for the history of the design of the Disney theme parks.
Click here for more posts by Erik Taylor.

5 Replies to “How to Improve on Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars”

  1. Erik hit it out of the park with this recipe!!
    I made it to take to two Christmas parties this week but I am holding back 5 beautiful triangles for dessert at my Christmas dinner!! They are THAT GOOD!!

    Make a note to use 2 eggs and cook for 22 minutes . Don’t overcook . It will be soft when it comes out but that is how it should be.

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