Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cranberry, Orange and White Chocolate Love

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...I found my dessert bar soul mate.

Starbucks rolls these around every holiday season and I used to pine for them all year long.  I no longer need to pine.  They're also good for my family because I have a brother in law who's allergic to chocolate.  Poor guy, I know.  Even if you don't have somebody with a chocolate allergy in your family and really, really REALLY like chocolate, you have got to make these.  

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.  I think next time though...I will just use my 8 x 12.  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's an important part of this recipe!  Do 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  (look for the 3 oz mini block of cream cheese in your dairy section. Perfect.  Because if you're like 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....I should not be so wasteful, I know.)
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 grater...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.  Over the cooking spray, place a piece of parchment.  You can cut it to fit exactly, or just scrunch it in.

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 bowl and toss around with 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 they are coated with flour, fold chips and cranberries into your batter.

Spread batter in your prepared pan and cook for 18 to 28 minutes (look, I know this is a huge amount of time difference, I mean, 10 minutes.  I put such a range because depending on your pan size, you don't want to overcook these and make them too crumbly.  They should be moist and delicate.  Start checking at about 18 minutes, once they are golden brown, take them out and let cool completely.

Frosting time...

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

Now for the topping...

Sprinkle cranberries and orange zest on top of the frosting.  So pretty!  And perfect for any family event or holiday cookie party you are going to this season.

Combine the oil and remaining white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Zap for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate is just starting to melt, (you'll still see outlines of the chocolate chips, that's okay). Stir until completely melted. Drizzle over the top of bars. Allow the chocolate to harden before cutting.  This is so you don't make a giant mess with your knife.

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 one. Because...white chocolate doesn't really count as chocolate...right?  It doesn't.  There is no actual cocoa solids which makes it not chocolate.
So pretty.  And so yummy.

So remember these sweet bites of goodness, when you're planning your next holiday dessert.  They will be a hit.

Thanks for reading!



  1. I think you are right about the orange extract. It has a different flavor from the orange zest, so I'm sure it is well worth the effort. Great tip on coating the crans and chocs with a little bit of flour. These look scrumptious, pinned!!

  2. Oh wow, these look so good! I'm a lover of all things cranberry. I agree white chocolate isn't chocolate. I want to try these but I have to try your fresh cranberry cookies first. These are so pretty, I think they would be perfect for the holidays.
    Ummm, college in italics, why, what are you up to? Or should I say what WERE you up to? Ha!
    Great recipe, thanks:)

  3. This looks SO good. I actually have already some orange extract (it's used in an Italian cake from Naples)

  4. PINNED!! I am going to make these and your cookies!. I really have to get to town to buy cranberries!!

  5. Oh it looks really good, I prefer zest but yeah it's different!

  6. White chocolate...yes please and double that. This looks delicious.

  7. Okay, I love you, you know that, right? Please don't hate me for not loving the whole cranberry/orange peel thing. They rank up there with mushrooms for me. But if I DID like the cranberry/orange peel thing, I'd be all over these babies like stink on poo!!! Maybe I could take a class and learn to like them....hmmmm.... :)


  8. Ah, my cranberries again. :) I haven't seen these before, they look and sound delicious.

  9. Besides being behind in my reading...I'm a fellow cranberry lover. These look amazing and I have never had one from Starbucks, but I'll have one of yours!


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