Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cranberry Bliss Bar

Now I know that it's summertime right now, or at least it should be according to the calendar, but I couldn't resist making this holiday treat. Every year during the holiday season Starbucks brings out some specialty drinks and goodies including the "oh-so-famous" cranberry bliss bar. I have to admit that I have never actually tried the Starbucks version however one of my friends, a fellow baker, has made it a couple of times and every time it's like heaven. The combination of the delicate blondie laced with cranberries and white chocolate then smothered with a cream cheese and white chocolate frosting is absolutely to die for.

After eating my friend's version countless times I asked her for the recipe and she graciously emailed it to me. Granted she actually provided me with the recipe over a month ago but the occasion to bake it had not come up until last night. I had a meeting to go to early this morning and I thought it would be a fun treat to bring along and for everyone to start their day off right. Technically that also meant a huge sugar high in the morning but indulgences are always fun once in a while.

The only annoying part about making the little treats was the last step which involved drizzling melted white chocolate over the bars once they had been frosted. Honestly it was more work than it was worth considering that white chocolate was already in the base of the blondie and mixed into the frosting. Obviously it would have made the bars more aesthetically pleasing but I couldn't make my drizzle turn out right and gave up on it quickly, choosing to spread the remaining white chocolate with a knife instead.

When I brought the treats to the meeting everyone was pleasantly surprised and thanked me for baking them. I distributed the extras amongst my friends afterward and they all loved it too; one friend even said it was like it was made by angels. I also made sure to save a piece for my friend who provided me with the inspiration and the recipe in the first place. Now that I have finally made the bars and have the recipe I'll be sure to whip it out again come holiday time.

Cranberry Bliss Bar
Note: I excluded the part about drizzling the white chocolate over the finished bars but that can be added as a final step if desired using part of the melted chocolate.

For the blondie layer:
  • 3/4 cup (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped (white chocolate chips works too)
For the frosting:
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 100 g white chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  1. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until uniform.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until evenly incorporated. Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate pieces.
  5. Spread the batter into a well greased 9" x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. While waiting to cool, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. 
  7. Gradually add the melted white chocolate and continue to beat until incorporated.
  8. Once the blondie base has cooled completely spread the frosting over top. Sprinkle with the chopped dried cranberries. Cut into squares or triangles and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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