The Busy Bean

Cranberry Bliss Bars

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Have you ever had these bars at Starbucks? They are amazing. They have them on the menu in the winter, then they’re gone. And I love them.

I wanted to make them for my family when they all came for Christmas, so I went looking for the perfect recipe. This one wasn’t it. Now, that could be because they were way undercooked when I checked them after the time was up. So I left them in – and left them a little too long. But I still think there was something off about them (at least for my taste).

I tried this one. Not what I wanted. I tried this one. Getting closer. I may have been obsessed at this point. I remembered once having used the blondie recipe from Taste of Home mentioned in the last recipe. I had modified it ever so slightly, and I loved it. So I decided to modify it again for my purposes here.

The biggest change? Omitting the cinnamon and adding chopped crystallized ginger. Perfect (for this these bars anyway). I also changed up the amount of salt, as I only buy unsalted butter.

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And here it is in all its glory:

Cranberry Bliss Bars

blondie layer:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted salted butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon orange extract (or use vanilla extract and a dash of lemon juice in a pinch)

1/2 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
3 oz. white baking chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

For the blondie layer:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add brown sugar and microwave until bubbly. Pour butter & sugar mixture into a large bowl and let cool. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and ginger. Slowly add dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until it’s all combined. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate.

Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. It’s going to be thick. So thick I had to use my fingers to press it into the corners. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Really, don’t try to frost these when they are even a little bit warm or the top layer will come off with your frosting.

For the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Add the extract and beat just a little bit more. Frost brownies, then sprinkle the chopped cranberries on top. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top. Cut into bars to serve.

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Now, you can serve these just how they are, and they’re fine. But if you put them in the refrigerator over night, they will be amazing. Seriously. Amazing. And now I think I will go eat the last one in my fridge leftover from this weekend.

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7 Thoughts on “Cranberry Bliss Bars

  1. Yummmm!!! I don’t know if I actually want to make these more than just eat them. Can I come over?? I’ll bring coffee! : )

  2. OMG those look fab. Must remind myself I’m on a diet (and that it’s a good thing that Starbucks here don’t sell them ;o) )

  3. Those look delish!

  4. First the caramels and now this! You are going to make me gain 25 lbs. I LOVED this at the sewing Saturday. They are amazing. BTW where do you find crystallized ginger? I’ve never bought it before.

    • Thanks Kati. Now it’s easier to tell why I’m struggling to lose the extra 50 lbs I’m carrying around with me!

      You can buy crystallized ginger in some regular grocery stores. I think Harmon’s has it. The ones closest to me don’t carry it, so I go to Good Earth or Whole Foods, depending on what I’m closer to at any given time.

  5. I’ve been dreaming of these since we had them at your house. Now I’ll be making myself an entire pan, not to share. Thanks for that!

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