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)
- 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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350° & line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper, with overhang at the sides.
- Melt Butter & stir in brown sugar. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let rest until at room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & orange zest. Set aside.
- When the butter/sugar mixture is cool, add eggs (one at a time) & the orange extract.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and then fold in the cranberries & chocolate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I would refrigerate before cutting.
- I cut the blondie into five rows and got four triangles per row, so about 20 bars.
- The orange is optional, but I highly recommend it. It brightens up the flavor and leaves a little something in the background.