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.
And here it is in all its glory:
Cranberry Bliss Bars
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
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.
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.