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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cranberry bliss bars

Considering how much time (and money) I spend in Starbucks, you may be surprised to know that I've never tried their Cranberry Bliss Bars.  Well, maybe not, since I am not a big eater of baked goods, but still, not once.  They sell them by the piece, or you can buy a gift box.  Which brings me to the point of this post:

This is the first installment of my JulieBakes December full of edible gifts.  Why not bring dessert to your holiday meal host and hostess?  Need something for that cookie exchange, but not in the mood to make cookies?  Or just want something festive on your holiday dessert table (white chocolate + cranberries = white and red)?  These cranberry-white chocolate blondies with a cream cheese-white chocolate frosting may be just the treat that you're looking for!

Cranberry Bliss Bars
From RecipeGirl, who got hers and tweaked it from Taste of Home.


Blondie Layer:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare the blondie layer:

Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium bowl .
Stir in the brown sugar
Pour into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture.
Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (I used white chocolate chips since I didn't feel like chopping the chocolate for the blondies.  I used good quality baking white chocolate for the icing).
Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake).
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting:

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until well-blended.
Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate.
Beat until blended.

Frost the blondies.
Sprinkle with cranberries.
Drizzle with the remaining melted white chocolate.
Cut into bars (squares, rectangles, or triangles....I also think circles would be cute, but probably too messy).

Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

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