When I worked at the Barnes & Noble café, I became hooked on the Cranberry Bliss Bars put out seasonally by Starbucks. I missed out on them this past holiday season (I don’t get Starbucks a lot anymore, since I don’t have that handy employee discount!) but I realized the other day that I had white chocolate chips and dried cranberries in the cupboard, and a plan began to formulate.
At first, my plan was just to make brownies, and add the two, but I soon found a blondie recipe that seemed familiar… and promising. With a few tweaks, I thought it might just work! And it did. Honestly, I have to say they came out lighter and moister than Starbucks’ bliss bars, and the frosting isn’t quite as hard. But those, I feel, are good things! It’s an improvement on the original.
Cranberry Bliss Bars
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 c chopped sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/4 c minced crystallized ginger
- 4 oz white chocolate chips
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped cranberries, ginger and white chocolate chips into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool.
Combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries and drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or a small plastic storage bag with one corner cut off at the tip. Cover and chill, then slice the cake lengthwise through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.