Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I love these things. Every year Starbucks has them during the holidays. My husband became addicted to them a few years back. My sister buys them by the dozen every year as well. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I treated myself to one. Wow! They are bliss! But, being the tight wad that I am, even though they are sinfully good, and only available during the holiday season, I set out to find a recipe for myself. The internet has several options, some vary slightly. I found my favorite on As usual, I altered it some to suit our tastes. This was a huge hit last year at all of our Christmas functions. It is a little time consuming, but well worth it. Not only are they delicious, they look so festive. Give them a try, and you can release yourself from the over priced ones that Starbucks only offers sometimes. No more teasers, you can bake, share and enjoy all year if you so choose!

1  cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3  eggs
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 ounce white chocolate, cut into chunks
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzle Icing:  (I don't always do this step. It is delicious, but not really necessary, unless you want authenticity)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt. Beat well.
Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
Mix 3/4 cup of  dried cranberries and white chocolate into batter by hand.
Pour batter into a well greased baking pan. You can use 9x13, I prefer a larger pan so the bars will be thinner. I use a small cookie sheet. It measure about 11x14. Spread evenly.
Bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Let cool.
Frosting: Mix cream cheese,powdered sugar and lemon juice and extract with a mixer until smooth.
Frost cake and sprinkle with diced dried cranberries.
Drizzle:  Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and shortening.
Drizzle over top in a sweeping motion, or use a fine tipped pastry bag.
If desired top with orange zest.
 Allow to sit for several hours before slicing.

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