Cranberry Bliss Bars

I don’t drink coffee. I hate the stuff, actually. I really don’t even head into Starbucks that often… but this time of year, I can’t get enough of the place. My absolute FAVORITE pick me up on a cold, blah day is a nonfat peppermint hot chocolate and a cranberry bliss bar. I had one the other day, got back to work and started browsing Pinterest for copycat recipes. I found this one from Taste of Home and it’s pretty darned close.

Every element of this recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. The blondie base is incredible. I cut myself off a piece before frosting to see how it was, and I would have been very happy just to eat that. But once you top it with a completely epic frosting made of cream cheese, melted white chocolate & orange zest & juice? Oh. My. Jesus.

These are absolutely fabulous, and I can’t wait to enjoy them through out the whole year!

Cranberry Bliss Bars (aka White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies)
(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients:
Blondie Base:

  • 1 & 1/2 sticks of butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Zest of a navel orange
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

Frosting:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, optional
  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • Zest of a navel orange
  • Juice of a navel orange
 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° & line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper, with overhang at the sides.
  2. Melt Butter & stir in brown sugar. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let rest until at room temperature.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & orange zest. Set aside.
  4. When the butter/sugar mixture is cool, add eggs (one at a time) & the orange extract.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and then fold in the cranberries & chocolate.
  6. Spread the batter into the pan (the batter is really thick, FYI)and bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (mine took the full 21 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.  
  7. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange zest & juice. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; and mix until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate.

Notes:

  1. The frosting doesn’t look like it will be enough, but it will. It’s rich, so you don’t want it mounded up, you just want an even layer. 
  2. I would refrigerate before cutting.
  3. I cut the blondie into five rows and got four triangles per row, so about 20 bars.
  4. The orange is optional, but I highly recommend it. It brightens up the flavor and leaves a little something in the background. 
 

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