Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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)

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

  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350° & line a 13x9 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.
  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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