How has your bliss level been lately? Mine has improved significantly since making these bars! Because they are so good, I can’t stop eating them, and I am now full of bliss (bars)!:) These are a copycat recipe of Starbucks’ bars of the same name. I discovered these bars a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. Only the last few times I was at Starbucks, they were all gone. Apparently there are other blissful people out there. Not to mention that it is a seasonal item, so if you are not there right after they get their shipment or on the exact right days on the calendar, you are out of luck. That is not a problem anymore. These bars can be made in less than an hour! I am not normally a person who likes fruity desserts. I usually would rather have dark chocolate or vanilla if I am going to have something sweet. I don’t know if it is the cream cheese frosting or…yeah, that’s probably it now that I think about it. Frosting and I are best friends. We always have been. So the fact that these bars are a tiny bit fruity and not chocolaty is fine with me. Because, like I said…cream cheese frosting!
And actually they do contain chocolate. White chocolate that is. Just be sure if you make these that you taste the white chocolate first and you like the flavor. I have been so surprised at how different each bag of white chocolate tastes. For me, I like Trader Joe’s brand. Sometimes, the most expensive white chocolate doesn’t taste the best. The base of the bar, which is actually a type of blondie, is loaded full of white chocolate chips, there is melted white chocolate in the frosting, and a white chocolate drizzle on top, so make sure you are good with the ones you buy.
Also, make sure you don’t over-bake these. Part of the reason they are so delicious is that the bar pretty much melts in your mouth. If you bake them too long, they will be more crunchy and just won’t be the same. I thought maybe I had taken them out of the oven too soon as the top was just barely set, kind of like an under-baked chocolate chip cookie. But after placing them in the refrigerator to cool, they set up beautifully and were easy to cut. With Thanksgiving being late in the month this year, Christmas will be upon us before we know it. With their pretty red and white color these bars would be great on a holiday dessert table or even to give as gifts to friends or neighbors. The fact that they are so quick to make is such a bonus. And they keep well in the refrigerator so you can make them a few days ahead of time if you need to. If you like Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars you will love these, and if you haven’t tried them, you are in for a real treat. And a lot of bliss. Perfect for the holiday season!
Cranberry Bliss Bars
For the Bars:
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
- 1 large egg
- 1 c light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c white chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1/2 c dried cranberries or Craisins, loosely packed (I used Craisins)
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
For the Frosting and Topping:
- 1 c white chocolate chips, melted and divided
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c dried cranberries or Craisins, loosely packed (dice them smaller if the pieces are large)
For the Bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 30-60 seconds. Allow to cool slightly so you don’t scramble the egg that you are going to add next.
- To the melted and cooled butter, add the brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and stir to combine.
- Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the bars will be tough.
- Fold in 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cranberries, orange zest, and stir to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.
- Bake for 18 to 21 minutes (I took mine out at 18), and center is just set and edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan. Do not over bake. Allow bars to cool before frosting them. When they are almost cooled, make the frosting.
For the Frosting and Topping:
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate for 30 seconds, stir, and reheat at 10 second intervals, stirring after each one until chocolate is melted. IMPORTANT: White chocolate can scorch easily so melt it very carefully, and slowly, at 10 second intervals, checking and stirring after each time in the microwave.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, 3/4 c of the melted white chocolate, the powdered sugar, vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy. Start by mixing on low-speed so the sugar doesn’t spray, and then beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Mixture will seem stiff at first but will loosen and fluff up after 2 to 3 minutes of beating on medium-high. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Frost the bars.
- While frosting is still soft, evenly sprinkle 1/2 c cranberries over the top of the frosted bars.
- Evenly drizzle bars with remaining melted white chocolate, reheating for a few seconds in the microwave if it has become too thick to drizzle. I placed the frosting in a small plastic baggy and then snipped a hole at one end to make it easier to drizzle.
- Allow bars to set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Refrigerate any leftovers. Bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Averie Cooks
These look so dreamy….
Thank you, Dimple! I love that word, dreamy. They were! I finally had to put them in the freezer after giving many away so that I wouldn’t eat any more right now. I’m saving them for Christmas Eve dessert. I appreciate your comment!
What beautiful bars! They are so festive.
Thank you, Julie! I love the colors of these bars for Christmas. I’m hoping they freeze well so we can have them again on Christmas Eve. I think they should. I appreciate you dropping by!
It looks so delicious! I love your foodie posts, they all look amazing ❤
Thank you so much, Arielle! It is nice to meet you, and I look forward to checking out your blog. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment!
Lovely bars Shari, I would have a hard time controlling myself with these around.
Thank you, Cheri! I have had a hard time. The frosting has been calling to me from the refrigerator. I finally had to put them in the freezer to silence them after giving some away!:) I hope you are doing well and enjoying the holidays.
Shari this looks wonderfully deadly delish…. 🙂
Thank you so much, Milanka! They were very sweet which I am always happy about. I appreciate your kind words!
These look wonderful, Shari. I love all the decorating on top.
Thank you, Teresa! They were so easy to do. By the way, I have tried to get on your blog several times lately, and I couldn’t get to it. Have you had anyone else have problems with that? I don’t know if it was my computer or not. It said something like this post may not be from who you think it is, and then I couldn’t get in when I clicked on it. I just tried it now, though, and had no problem. I even tried getting to it from Google and not from my e-mail, but I still couldn’t, but today I can. I’m glad I am able to now. I was wondering what to do. I have a lot of catching up to do on your yummy posts. Thanks so much for your comment!
My blog was down for over a week and I finally had to go with a new service provider. It’s up and running now, so u should be able to access everything.
I’m sorry to hear that, Teresa! That must have been so frustrating. I’m glad you were able to find a solution.
You sold me at cream cheese frosting! These look fabulous, Shari…beautifully decorated too. 🙂 The flavors sound delish (I see we’re both on the cran/orange combo!). Thanks to the festive looks of these, I’m definitely adding these to my holiday baking list. Thanks for sharing the recipe…these little bundles of sweetness wouldn’t have been on my radar without you!
Thank you so much, Nancy! I’m so happy I could pass along the recipe. That makes my day. These pretty much decorate themselves. It’s just a matter of sprinkling and drizzling. I hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to try them. I can’t believe how soon Christmas is. Yikes! I appreciate your kind comments!
These look A-MAZ-ING. I’ve seen them at Starbucks but have never tried them, and now I’m wondering why that is. I got really excited about them when you said they take about an hour to make. That is my kind of baking!
Thanks also for the tip re: white chocolate. I didn’t realize there was such a variation in taste. That is a very good thing to know.
Thanks so much, Ruth! They are very sweet, but very good. I found out about white chocolate when I used Ghiradelli brand chocolate chips. I just couldn’t stand the taste of them. I thought they would be good, because they are known for quality, and I love their regular chocolate chips. I think it is just a taste preference, though. I hope you are doing well and enjoying holiday preparations!
Every time I go to Starbucks and see these, I tell myself I need to make these sometime! Yours look even better! 🙂
Thank you, Nancy! They were so easy to make. I hope you get a chance to try them sometime. I appreciate you stopping by!
Although I am neither a Starbuck’s follower or consumer, I must admit that these cranberry bars are totally delightful . . . having said that as a DEVOUT cranberry ‘anything’ recipe addict! So coming from you Shari, I trust that these are indeed magnificently delicious bars, that they will take me to another new level of cranberry bliss, and that I will add them to my beloved list of cranberry recipes! Grazie’, Roz
Thank you, Roz! If you like cranberries, I think you would love these. You also have to like very sweet, rich desserts, which is probably why I enjoyed them!:) I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment during such a busy season!
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