Friday, September 14, 2012

True Love...Dessert Bar Style

starbucks cranberry bliss
I have loved these bars for a long time.  Ever since I was in...we'll just call my roommate brought these to my folks house for dinner one Sunday.  She claimed she had made them herself, and ohhhhh, the cries of joy that sang from the rafters that day.  Alas, she didn't make them herself.  She worked at Starbucks and brought them from the pastry case.  Every Christmas season Starbucks brings these little beauties out and I am in heaven.  Beans and Brews for coffee and teas...Starbucks for Cranberry Bliss Bars.

So, a few weeks ago when I was asked to bring dessert for a family function, I immediately thought about re-creating these!  My bro-in-law is allergic to chocolate, oh, the horror.  So, I typically try to make something that he can eat.  My husband's family thought they were the best dessert ever in the history of the world!!!  Or pretty darn close to the best dessert ever  and my brother-in-law who, many times has to forgo dessert, was over the moon for them.

I got the recipe from this website and only changed it a bit.  I even went so far as to buy the correct size pan for these, 10 x15.  Who has a baking pan that size?  Unthinkable.  Next time though I will just use my 9 X 13.  They might be a bit thicker, but not by much.  Also, go buy the orange extract that it calls for.  I know, I know, I didn't have it on hand either but, by golly, it's an important part of this recipe!  Do it.  I mean it.

Cranberry Bliss Bars...Starbucks knock-off
adapted from Cookin' Diva on

2 Sticks butter, softened
1 C. Brown Sugar
1/3 C. Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Orange Extract
2 C. Flour   Plus a tiny bit for coating the cranberries before they go in the batter
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp ground ginger (next time I'm going to put finely diced candied ginger in it...oh yeah)
3/4 C. Dried Cranberries
3/4 C. White Chocolate Chips

3 oz. Cream Cheese, softened  (you can buy exactly 3 oz of cream cheese in your dairy section. Perfect.  Because if you're like me, you are never going to use the rest of the huge block of cream cheese and it's just going to sit in your fridge taking up space for a good few weeks until you wise up and toss it.)...ahem...
2 Tbl. Butter, softened
3 C. Powder Sugar
1/2 tsp. canola or veg oil

1/3 C. Dried Cranberries, chopped
Grated orange peel.  Just grate the entire orange using a micro-plane zester...use all the zest
1/3 C. White Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp. canola or veg oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Prepare you baking dish by first spraying it all over with non-stick spray.  Then cut a piece of parchment so that it fits perfectly in the pan.

Prepare your bars by mixing your butter and sugars in a mixer until nice and fluffy.  Approximately 5 minutes.  Add eggs and orange extract and mix until just blended.  Add the remaining dry ingredients except for the cranberries and mix until just combined.  Place your cranberries and white chocolate chips in a small bowl and put about a tablespoon of flour in and coat completely.  (By doing this step, you are going to prevent the cranberries and chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of the's important.  Do it.)  Once you have coated with flour, fold chips and cranberries into your batter.

Spread batter in your prepared pan and cook for 18 to 28 minutes, depending on pan size, until very lightly browned.  You don't want to over cook this otherwise it will be too crumbly.  Make sure a toothpick comes out clean.  Set aside and cool completely.

Time to make the frosting.

In mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until nicely mixed and fluffy.  Add orange extract and powder sugar and mix until fluffy.  You may need to add a Tbl or so of milk if it's too thick.  Spread over cooled bars.

Now for the topping.

Sprinkle cranberries and orange zest on top of the frosting.

Combine the oil and white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate is just starting to melt. Stir until completely melted. Drizzle over the top of bars. Allow the chocolate to harden before cutting.

If you want to be like Starbucks, cut into triangles. Devour on sight. My family loved these. The Mister couldn't stop eating them. Please, if you want a non-chocolaty dessert that's sure to please, this is the ticket. Because, well, white chocolate doesn't really count as chocolate...right?  Right, it has no cocoa in it, so not chocolate.

So pretty, and so yummy.

They were so good that I couldn't even center the camera properly, I just wanted to gobble these down.

Thanks for reading!

If you like this recipe, check these out:


  1. White chocolate is just too sweet for me. I love me some semi-sweet and milk chocolate though. Don't worry..if you ever make them again I will eat one. Or two.

  2. Oh Heather I love these at Starbucks too! I'll be making these at home now! THanks for posting this!

    1. Danni, you will have to make these, they were so, so good!


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