Cranberry Bliss Bars

Update: Make sure to also check out the Cranberry Bliss Cake and Cranberry Bliss Cookie Recipes

I love Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars but they’re a seasonal item and as fast as magically appear in the bakery cases this time of year, they can disappear just as fast, never knowing if, or when, they’ll return.

Something about seasonally-available items makes me yearn for them them even more. Just think of the pandemonium that surrounds the first few days of Pumpkin Spice Latte season.

I don’t have to worry about being bliss-less anymore because I can make these at home now, which is both good and bad. Good because these are a dead ringer for Cranberry Bliss Bars, bad because they are a dead ringer for Cranberry Bliss Bars. Better lace up those running shoes.

Cranberry Bliss Bars are really just blondies that have been amped up with white chocolate, cranberries, and then frosted with white chocolate-infused cream cheese frosting. I am both a blondie lover and a white chocolate lover and for anyone who likes white chocolate as much as I do, it’s used three times in the recipe. As chips baked into the bars, melted and incorporated into the frosting, and lightly drizzled on top of the frosted bars.

I have two white chocolate blondie recipes, this one, which uses a bit of baking powder in the base, creating a fluffier and more cake-like blondie. And then my preferred blondie recipe, which doesn’t use any leavening. As with brownies, I like my blondies denser and less cakey. So I tweaked my preferred recipe by adding cranberries and kept the white chocolate chips to create the Bliss Bar base. It’s a very simple batter that comes together in less that five minutes by hand based on ‘ones’. Melt one stick of butter, add one cup brown sugar, one cup flour, one (and a half) teaspoons vanilla, and stir. Stir in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips and it’s ready to be baked.

The batter is fairly shallow in the baking pan and it bakes up quicker than you may think, about 18 to 20 minutes. Even a few extra minutes of baking time will create a much more dried out bar, ruining the bliss. I find the secret to commercialized chain-store successes like Mrs. Field’s cookies, Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, orStarbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars is that none are overbaked; all are ooey, gooey, and chewy. Keep that in mind and pull the bars from the oven as soon as the top is set. It will be a pale golden hue.

While the bars bake and are cooling, make the white chocolate-spiked cream cheese frosting. The frosting is where the magic happens and catapults this recipe from white chocolate and cranberry blondies to copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars and it lends so much authenticity to the bars. To make it, melt one cup white chocolate chips and when melting white chocolate, I cannot stress this enough, it scorches easily and melts twice as fast, if not faster, than milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips so go slowly and in little bursts. Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, heat on high power for about 30 seconds, stop and stir. Then heat in ten-second bursts, stopping to stir after each, until the chocolate can be stirred smooth, being patient with it and not allowing the mixture to get too hot or it will seize up and you’ll need to start over. You can also melt white chocolate over a double boiler, however I find this to be more work and have no issue using the microwave, but to each her own and melt it in whatever way you’ll have success,

Add about three-quarters of the melted white chocolate to a fluffy pile of confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and four ounces of cream cheese that’s waiting in a mixing bowl. You may use whipped or light cream cheese, you know, to save calories so you can eat more. Beat this mixture together until it’s very fluffy, playing with the confectioners’ sugar ratio as necessary, adding an additional dollop of cream cheese or splash of milk if it becomes too thick. The mixture will start out thick but keep beating, for at least three minutes, and it will magically fluff up. Spread the fluffy, creamy goodness over the cooled blondies.

Then, sprinkle generously with dried cranberries and drizzle the remaining white chocolate over the top. The beauty of adding both dried cranberries and a parting white chocolate drizzle on top of the frosting is that any imperfections in the frosting will be masked. I didn’t bother sifting the confectioners’ sugar used in the frosting because I knew that any tiny lumps would be concealed. Sift if you prefer or are serving these to royalty who may chastise you over a miniscule lump of confectioners’ sugar.

It’s best to allow the bars to set up for about thirty minutes before slicing into them, because it will make the job easier, neater, and they’ll look prettier and more authentic. To slice the bars, lift them out using the aluminum foil overhang, because yes, you were smart enough to line your pan with foil before beginning, making this stage of the game a cinch and it makes cleanup effortless, too.

Slice the bars by making a cross, creating four small squares or quadrants. To each of the four quadrants, slice on the diagonal to create two triangles, for a yield of eight triangular-shaped bars. They’re generously-sized, very similar in size and shape to the Starbucks version, but the beauty here is that this recipe makes just eight bars, since it’s baked in an 8-by-8-inch pan. I have not tried doubling the recipe, and in theory, doubling and using a 9-by-13-inch pan would probably work, but I haven’t tried. Eight of these puppies in one batch was plenty, eating 16 of them before the frosting gets a little too crunchy or dried out would have been overkill for our family of three.

Hands down, I prefer these to Starbucks. Scott also loves Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars but preferred the homemade version. When we tried to analyze why we liked these better, all we could come up with is that they have a homemade taste, rather than a commercialized, mass-produced taste. Sometimes the exact nuances why one item is preferred over another isn’t always perfectly well-defined and you just like what you like.

Subtle differences are that my blondie base is slightly denser and less cake-like than Starbucks. If you prefer a cakier base, and one that leavens just a bit more, when making the batter add one-half to one teaspoon baking powder when adding the flour, depending on how cakey you want to go. I prefer density as opposed to cakey in all blondies or brownies, so omit chemical leaveners entirely when making either.

The amount of white chocolate chips and cranberries baked into the bars is slightly more abundant in the homemade version. Within each bite, there are plenty of chunky and sweet bits of white chocolate chips, interspersed with chewy and slightly tart dried cranberries, and who would ever complain about slightly more white chocolate or cranberries. With the final sprinkling of cranberries over, I’m sure I sprinkled with a slightly more generous hand.

Homemade frosting always reigns supreme to storebought and with the Bliss Bars in particular, the frosting really makes them. I adore cream cheese frosting, especially when it’s been beat to submission with the inclusion of melted white chocolate. Layering this heavenly goodness on just a bit thicker than Starbucks does is the beauty of making these, or anything, at home. You can customize it to your liking, and for me, that will always mean extra frosting. I’m one of those people who likes a little cake with my frosting or a few crackers with my bowl of dip.

We inhaled these and I cannot wait to make them again. They are so easy and came together in about a half hour. A little too easy and so authentic. Between the Outback Steakhouse Wheat Bread and these, I’ve thoroughly been enjoying restaurant-style copycat recipes lately.

I don’t want to burnout on these so am waiting a bit before making another batch, but they’re one of best things I’ve made in ages and I highly recommend blissing out with them.

Cranberry Bliss Bars {Starbucks Copycat Recipe} - They taste just like the real thing & you can make them at home, year-round! Think of all the $ you'll save. Spot-on, easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: One 8-by-8-inch pan, 8 generous triangles

Just like the popular Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars and the taste is spot-on. These very authentic bars are so fast and easy to make. The batter comes together in one bowl, by hand, in just minutes. While the bars bake make the cream cheese and white-chocolate frosting, get the cranberries ready for sprinkling, and pour a cup of coffee. For anyone who loves the Starbucks version, these are can be made year-round at home for pennies on the dollar and taste every bit as fabulous and then some.

Ingredients:

For the Bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)

1 large egg

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries, loosely packed

1/2 teaspoon orange zest, optional and to taste (edited to add this on 12-9-12)

For the Frosting and Topping

1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and divided

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (whipped or light may be used)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups+ confectioners' sugar (I used about 2 3/4 cups)

1/4 cup dried cranberries, loosely packed (optionally, roughly dice them if the pieces are larger)

Directions:

For the Bars - Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds. To the melted butter (allow it to cool slightly so you don't scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the bars will be tough. Fold in 3/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cranberries, optional orange zest, and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, and center is set and golden or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan, or a toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow bars to cool before frosting them. While they cool, make the frosting.

For the Frosting and Topping - In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate on high power, about 1 minute, reheating in 10-second intervals, or until it can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is notorious for scorching so melt it very carefully, and slowly, heating in quick bursts, and keep a watchful eye; use a double boiler if that's easier.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, about three-quarters of the melted white chocolate (about 3/4 cup, just eyeball it), 2 cups confectioners' sugar (I don't sift it because any tiny lumps will be covered up by sprinkled cranberries and white chocolate drizzle), vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy. Start by mixing on low speed so sugar doesn't spray, and then beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Mixture will seem stiff at first but will loosen and fluff up after 2 to 3 minutes of beating on medium-high; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add additional confectioners' sugar (I used about 2 3/4 cups, I like it on the thicker side) based on taste preference and desired frosting consistency. Frost the bars; if you have excess, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.

Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup cranberries over the top of the frosted bars. Evenly drizzle bars with remaining melted white chocolate, reheating for a few seconds in the microwave if it has set up. Allow bars to set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To keep gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour blend, taking care that all other ingredients used are acceptable for your dietary needs.

Base of bars adapted from Coconut White Chocolate Blondies and White Chocolate Chip Blondies. Frosting and Topping inspired by Taste of Home

http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/11/cranberry-bliss-bars.html

Related Recipes:

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Bliss Cake - The flavors of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars in a Soft, Easy, No-Mixer Cake! Recipe at averiecooks.com

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cranberry Bliss Bar flavors, in cookie form. Tender, soft, pillowy centers and a 2012 Top 10 Favorite

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

White Chocolate Blondies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting - This blondie recipe yields bars that are slightly cakier, fluffier, and less dense than to today’s recipe. Today’s recipe, and the next two links, use my newer and preferred base, which is the blondie equivalent of a fudgy brownie as opposed to a cakey one, as I don’t use any baking soda or powder in them now, but this is a matter of personal taste preference

Coconut White Chocolate Chip Blondies with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Drizzle – I adapted these blondies for the Cranberry Bliss Bars by removing the coconut flakes and semi-sweet chocolate drizzle, however I think that cranberries, coconut, and white chocolate sounds lovely

Chocolate Chip and Cherry Blondies –My spin on cherry blondies, as opposed to cranberry. And semi-sweet rather than white chocolate. With blondies in general, the fruit used (fresh, frozen, or dried) can usually be varied with ease based on what’s seasonal and what you have around

Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies – Peanut butter is used twice in this recipe, both baked into the batter and then swirled on top, in conjunction with jelly, and they’re my favorite way to eat PB & J

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola (vegan, GF) – If you have extra dried cranberries, or pumpkin puree on hand, this granola will put both to use and is a snap to make

Do you have a favorite seasonally-available food that you love?

Cranberry Bliss Bars and gingerbread lattes come to mind, and in the spring of the year, the first strawberry or the first bite of summer watermelon are things I look forward to all year. In general, I think people really build up the fall and winter holiday eating season in their minds, counting the days until Grandma’s stuffing and gravy or Aunt Sue’s sprinkle cookies. I think these Cranberry Bliss Bars are a perfect way to kickoff the holiday (eating) season.

Do you like Cranberry Bliss Bars?

Thanks to The Kitchn for featuring this recipe

 

   

203 Responses to “Cranberry Bliss Bars”

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    Suzy — November 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I made these and all I can say is that these are quite possibly the best things I have ever baked thanks to your recipe! For those who are considering baking them, I have one thing to say—don’t do it unless you are extremely disciplined!!! They definitely got the best of me!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 11th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      I am so happy to hear that they are quite possibly the best thing you’ve ever baked! Wow, such high praise and thank you and I’m glad you had such success!

      And there is a REASON I made them in an 8×8 pan, rather than a 9×13, because we didn’t need any more than 8. 16 would have been…well…dangerous :) Thanks for the feedback and taking the time to write – I appreciate it!

      Reply

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    Joan — November 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I made the cranberry bliss bars. They were TERRIBLE. Took them to a party for 35 people… nobody liked them and I was embarassed! By the way, there wasn’t a little bit of extra frosting, there was more than twice what would be necessary. And yes, I did follow the recipe correctly.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 11th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      I am sorry that you didn’t have success with them. I just had a woman write to me a couple hours before your comment came in (above yours) saying they were the best thing she’s ever made. My recipe is adapted from a very popular Taste of Home recipe, that I linked in the post, so I am not sure what to say other than sorry you didn’t like them
      http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/White-Chocolate-Cranberry-Blondies

      Reply

    • Victoria replied: — November 21st, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Are you sure one of your ingredients wasn’t sour or bad? Maybe you used old/nasty flour or something?

      I find it absolutely impossible to follow this recipe with fresh ingredients and have 35 people dislike them? That is, of course, unless you took them to the “We hate white chocolate and cranberries!” convention :p.

      As far as the extra frosting, maybe you didn’t use a proper 8×8 pan?

      It just doesn’t make sense. This is the absolute best Christmas recipe I’ve made for a very long time. It has filled my gap in life! I’ve been trying to find something that looks/sounds seasonal for Christmas, yet still easy and delicious to bake . This – is – it!

      Reply

      • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 21st, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        Victoria – thank you for your comment! I have had many people write to me privately and tell me how much they love these and how easy they were to make and I find them one of the best-tasting desserts I’ve made in ages based on how awesome they are vs. time investment/difficulty of recipe. And I am not sure why a person would bring a batch size of 8 bars to a party with 35 people there….you just never know….

        But glad you loved them and thanks for writing in!

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    Jan Larson — November 12, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I can’t wait to try baking them this year.

    Reply

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    caroline — November 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

    These look delicious! I will be making these for my Thanksgiving spread. If I am making a 9×13 pan, do I need to adjust the cooking time at all?

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 18th, 2012 at 9:24 am

      You know I’ve never made them in a 9×13 pan so I don’t know. Is it at all possible for you to make two pans of 8×8? If not, I’d say maybe increase baking time by 1-3 mins, but it will really depend on your oven, the batter, thickness of it in the pan, etc. LMK how it goes!

      Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 18th, 2012 at 9:25 am

      P.S. I would not double the frosting portion because as it is, it makes plenty. If you do increase it, I would maybe do 1.5 times the batch but not a double batch!

      Reply

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    karla H — November 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I have not tasted my cranberry bliss bars yet, but found them to require a much longer baking time of about 25 minutes!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — November 25th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Everyone’s oven temperatures can vary – I calibrate/check mine every 6 mos or so, but bake yours til they’re done :) Plus here in San Diego, it’s so dry that everything bakes/dries out very fast. Just don’t overbake them – you want them *just* set up or they won’t taste like a real Bliss Bar!

      Reply

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    Farah — December 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Thank you for posting this recipe. So I attempted to make these last weekend but my topping came out to be too sugary. granted I did not mix the topping with electric mixer. Could that be why?

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 3rd, 2012 at 11:32 am

      In order to get the topping smooth, you really need to beat it, very well. Either in a mixer, stand or hand-held, or whip it like crazy using some good old-fashioned elbow grease. You say ‘sugary’ but I am taking a guess that you mean sugary-grainy, or sugary-granular. If that’s the cake, you need to dissolve and work in the sugar more; and I would suspect that a few more minutes of beating would have done the trick. Not sure if that’s what you mean but thanks for trying the recipe!

      Reply

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    Lindsey — December 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    These look amazingly delicious, the tiniest thing that may be missing is that the Cranberry Bliss Bars contain a small amount of orange zest. I used to work at Starbucks and that is their ‘secret’ addition.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 4th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Ah-hah! Thanks for the info and I had a feeling. I was leary of including it because I didn’t want to overpower the dough base but now I know, straight from an ex-employees’ mouth :) Thanks!

      Reply

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    Tricia — December 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Averie, these look absolutely magnificent! I’m making my shopping list right now! But one question… just so that I don’t do the horrific deed of eating them ALL AT ONCE, can these be frozen? I’d like to double or triple the batch and save some for Christmas guests (that’s the plan anyways… if they make it that far!) :)
    Thanks for the gorgeous recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 4th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      The batch size is just 8 bars. So it’s not really a ‘big’ batch. It’s one 8-by-8-inch pan and although they can likely be frozen and then thawed, I am not quite sure what the cream cheese-white chocolate layer on top will do. Honestly, the recipe is VERY do-able in less than 1 hour – so I may recommend just baking a day or two ahead of time? Or trial the frozen bars first before the big holiday and guests! LMK what you end up doing!

      Reply

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    Clover — December 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make your bars all week, finally got the time today. I actually even ate a real Starbucks cranberry bliss bar yesterday in the name of research. I difinatly tasted the orange zest, so I added it to the frosting I made, and it was DELISH! I only added like 1/2 tsp or so, but it was fab. The bars I made today were totally better than Starbucks. I could seriously eat the whole pan myself. So glad it only makes an 8×8. Here’s the bad news. I am in a family of freaks, and they are all looking at them like–“am I supposed to eat this?” I guess the cranberries seem “heathy” or something. So I actually may get my wish and get to eat the whole pan myself.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 7th, 2012 at 7:17 am

      I am so glad you loved them and that they were a huge success! I know now that the Starbucks version has a pinch of orange zest in it (others have told me) and glad you were able to work that in – and glad that you may be able to make another pan, for yourself :) Just tell your family they’re red raisins. Lol Everyone eats raisins, right! Don’t answer that b/c yes I know, some people don’t like those either!

      Reply

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    Barb — December 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Zoe….what brand white chocolate chips have you found to be the best? Thanks.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 8th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      I’m Averie :) but I use Trader Joe’s white choc chips or Nestle; the other brands are far too rich$$ for my blood!

      Reply

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    Pinkhot-tea — December 9, 2012 at 1:30 am

    I made five batches of the Cranberry Bliss Bars to share at one Women’s event and I had so many enquiries about getting the recipe that I spent more time talking to these women than listening to the speakers at the event! These are very good especially if you like cranberries and white chocolate. Since the Women’s event, I now have to make these whenever I visit someone and I am now “ordered” to take them to family events. NOTE: Regarding the recipe just for your information, I followed the instructions to make the extra thick topping. I also made the triangles into 16 smaller pieces rather than making them into 8 pieces. They are rich, but if you are serving them along with other sweet treats, the smaller pieces are the way to go. I AM SO GLAD THAT I FOUND THIS RECIPE!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 9th, 2012 at 7:09 am

      Five batches and they’re disappearing like crazy – that’s awesome and I am so glad you love them (and apparently everyone else does, too!). Oh and yes, if I was serving these in conjunction with other treats, cutting them into half the size of the original wedges, i.e. 16 rather than 8, would be the way to go because yes, they’re rich and filling. Thanks for the feedback and great comment!

      Reply

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    Michelle — December 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Made these last night and they were great! Your directions are PERFECT and so helpful. I added the zest of half an orange to the cake batter. The bars cut really well too. These are going into my permanent Christmas cookie rotation. My only change was using wilton white candy melts rather than chips. I find white choc chips so difficult, even with extra careful melting. So glad i made these! Thanks Averie

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 9th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Michelle – thanks for the field report, what you did, and for taking the time to write – glad you loved them! I just actually updated the post to reflect an optional addition of orange zest because many have told me they have used it with success and so I included it now, too. The reason I didn’t call for Wilton melts is because not everyone has access to them whereas white chocolate chips/bars are more universal; and yes, they can be tricky. If you heat them for like 15 – 30 seconds, let them sit for 5 minutes and really soften, then re-heat in 15 sec bursts, it makes the job a lot easier, just for the future for other recipes if you need them. But sounds like you’re set :)

      Reply

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    Michelle — December 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for the advice! I will give that method a try. I am writing again to say the bars tasted even better the next day. I am going to make another batch this week. Thanks again!

    Reply

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    Ka Ning — December 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Averie! I just made this for my holiday Yankee Swap tomorrow and I wanted to thank you for this recipe! I only had whole-wheat flour in the house but these still came out amazing…in fact better than Starbucks!!! I’m totally going to sneak the leftovers in as breakfast over the next few days. Thanks again! :D

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 11th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      So glad you made them and that they were a hit – even with WW flour! And yes, I think better than Starbucks, too :) I think your idea for breakfast sounds like a plan – thanks for making them and for taking the time to come back with a field report, I appreciate it!

      Reply

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    Lilla — December 12, 2012 at 7:23 am

    These look delicious. I’m looking at the ingredients and I don’t see any baking soda or baking powder. Is that correct?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 12th, 2012 at 7:31 am

      That is correct – no baking powder or soda. They are a denser bar that doesn’t call for chemical leavnening agents.

      Reply

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    Lilla — December 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for your quick reply. At the store just now buying the ingredients. :)

    Reply

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    Barb — December 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Averie…thanks for your reply about the white choc chip brand. So sorry I called you Zoe. Wrong blog…too much going on! Can’t wait to make these..they sound fabulous.

    Reply

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    Sophie — December 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    AMAZING, you’re awesome. I have one brother who hates peanut butter and one who hates milk/dark chocolate…bizarre. I made these bars following your recipe almost exactly (a little less sugar in the icing) and they both told me it was the best dessert they’ve EVER had!! thank you so much! Very close to starbucks but better!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — December 16th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      So glad that you loved them and that they were a hit with your brothers, too. For people who hate PB and chocolate, the fact that they love cranberries and white chocolate, hey, that’s awesome. Normally it’s the other way around! But regardless, thanks for making these, glad you ALL loved them, and thanks for coming back to give such a successful report!

      Reply

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    Lori — January 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    These are so good! But I wanted to share that I’ve made them 3 times, and it’s taken them a full 40 min (yes, forty!) to set up in the middle. Not sure why. All my other recipes have come out according to the recommended baking time, so I don’t think it’s my oven. Regardless, they turned out delicious, which explains why I’ve made them 3 times in the past month. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — January 1st, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Baking them FORTY minutes would cause them to be burned to a black state of nonrecognition in my oven. Same with all my blondie recipes – even when I bake them in my other oven in my other house, it’s always in the range of maybe 20-25 mins. Never ever past 30. And 40 would ruin them. They do sell oven thermometers for like 5.99 at most grocery stores or Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. May be worth it just to check yours. I check mine every couple months and it’s right where it should be but that’s interesting to me the big variance. But hey, at least you’re getting the results you want!

      Reply

      • Sarah replied: — December 15th, 2013 at 11:43 am

        I made these a few days ago and I had the exact same problem. When I checked the bars at 20 minutes, the center was so raw, my toothpick was completely wet with batter.

        I have two oven thermometers so I can verify it was at the correct temperature.

        I ended up covering them with foil and I’m sure they baked for 35+ minutes which then resulted in the bars being over-baked on the edges.

        The end result was good but next time I will add orange (omitted this time) and be more careful about the baking time. I might try a larger pan next time for a thinner bar / shorter baking time.

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 15th, 2013 at 11:49 am

          With any baking, you always have to bake until done in your oven, with your ingredients, and in your climate – and sounds like somewhere between 20 and 35 mins is the magic number for you. Sounds like you enjoyed them though and sometimes recipes can take more than once to get down pat and tweak a little, i.e. the orange or the baking times. Thanks for trying the recipe.

    • Stina replied: — December 1st, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Baking mine too now – and it’s taking about 40 min too! Maybe my oven needs a checkup…

      Reply

      • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 1st, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        I think your oven does need a tuneup. 40 mins is a very long time…get a $5 oven thermometer and see what’s going on. I suspect it’s running very cold.

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    Jen — January 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    The cranberry bliss bars were my favorite homemade treat this year. Thanks so much for posting this, the recipe was spot on (but SO much better than the store bought!)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — January 8th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      I am so glad to hear they were your fave treat of the YEAR! That’s such high praise and thank you – and I agree way better than storebought! Thanks for coming back to LMK!

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    Jennifer — January 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I finally made these tonight after bookmarking them the day Averie posted the resume. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the bars to cool so that I can frost and dig in! Trick to heating white chocolate in the microwave without burning is to heat at 50% power. That typically saves it from seizing. Thanks so much for the recipe-I will be making these frequently for friends and family. Absolutely delicious!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — January 11th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      So happy to hear you made them, Jennifer, and that you love them so much! I do too! Good tip on the 50% power, too. I am an old pro at melting chocolate – don’t know if that’s good or bad – and can melt it in my sleep but good for people who aren’t as familiar to save them from a mess. So glad you love the bars & thanks for LMK!

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    sylvia — January 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Made these twice during Christmas. They were Great. Thanks.

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    Cara — February 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I am so excited about this recipe! A friend just forwarded to me. Love your blog (I’m now a follower) and love this recipe. Your food photography is stellar.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — February 20th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for finding me and the compliments…these bars…are one of my fave things I made in 2012. I highly!!! recommend them. Especially if you’re familiar w/ the Starbucks version, you will love these!

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    Kelly — March 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Delicious!! I have been wanting to make your recipe for these bars for 4 months now…and finally got a chance to a couple days ago. They are fabulous!!! LOVE the blondie/cranberry/white chocolate chip base, and the frosting is so yummy! I can’t wait to make these again (and I am not waiting another 4 months this time!). Thank you for the well written and delicious recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 7th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      So strange (in a good way!) to get a comment on these bars now b/c it’s not ‘holiday season’ but they are good enough to make year-round, I agree!! Thanks so much for trying the recipe, glad you felt it was well written with delish results! Thanks for coming back to tell me you made them after having your eye on them for 4 mos :)

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    fancyrock — June 16, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Just one quick glance at your website and I know I will LOVE trying your recipes! Can’t wait to carve out more time to look thru everything (especially these copycat recipes!).

    Just a thought, I have an old Cranberry Bliss copycat recipe from the Oregonian newspaper and it calls for diced candied ginger. Maybe something to try?

    Thanks for your great site — Becky in OR

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 16th, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      I’ve seen some recipes call for it, and it’s not actually ginger that is likely in the real ones; I am pretty sure it’s a teeny tiny bit of orange zest or orange extract. Although ginger couldn’t hurt, I don’t know if it’s as ‘authentic’ if you’d include it. That said, I love love love these bars as written and everyone who makes them seems to be super happy! So before I started messing around with tweaks and twists, I thought I would just leave well enough alone – and they’re one of my fave bars ever :)

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    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — November 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I made these exactly as written (except for the frosting!) and they’re soooo insanely good. Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And I think the other people who tried them agreed. They’d take a bite, and then just look at me and shake their heads in disbelief. I made these and two other bars and while the other bars were good, people just couldn’t stop eating these. It got to the point where people were saying, “Keep them away from me!” because they couldn’t stop inhaling the bars.

    I made these for a dinner party (which only Germans would be attending and they don’t like things too sweet) so I left the powdered sugar out of the frosting and they were still plenty sweet. I’m sure the texture isn’t the same but it’s not like we have Starbuck’s cranberry bliss bars over here so who cares. :D

    And if you’re in Germany, use half Type 405 and half 550 flour. They won’t come out properly if you don’t! And drain your cream cheese. :)

    Thanks a ton for the amazing recipe! I usually like to make things healthier but no way am I going to mess with this recipe. ;)

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    Pooja — November 24, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    This recipe is awesome! For a first time baker, this was so easy to follow and replicate. I did replace the orange zest with minced candied ginger, so it tasted a little different, but was still great. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 25th, 2013 at 12:51 am

      Glad to hear that for a first time baker (WOW!) that these were great for you. I am impressed because they’re not ‘hard’ but if it’s literally your first time baking something, and you chose these – I am impressed! Thanks for LMK you found the recipe easy to follow & replicate!

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    Beth — December 5, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I am thinking about making these for a bake sale — does the frosting harden enough to wrap them individually? If not, any tips for making a frosting that would not stick to the wrapping? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 5th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      The frosting marginally hardens. I mean, it will likely come off onto saranwrap. Some of it will be lost to the plastic. You could wrap them in parchment but I find parchment doesn’t get airtight and things dry out. If you’re okay with wrapping in saranwrap, I would just do that. They are wonderful bars – one of my fave recipes of all time!

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    Aarika — December 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    These were spot on! Thank you so much for sharing these. I live in Colorado and all of the Starbucks here are actually completely sold out the past week or two because of a shipping or purchasing error , so these were a huge hit for several of my friends and coworkers who were going through withdrawals! Thanks again!!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 18th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      So glad you love them and find them to be spot on! Wonderful to hear!

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    C. Brown — December 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I made the bars as written, but put 1/2 t. baking soda as I do like them a bit cakier and also included satsuma zest (as I had them instead of oranges). They were exceptionally greasy. I took out too early (10 minutes), so put them in for another 20 (checking after the first 10 and thereafter at 5 minute intervals). The middle still didn’t seem to be 100% done, but since the edges were a bit crispy, out they came. Still, hubby said it tasted only partially done.

    The frosting made as is would have been absolutely way off for us. I only used 1/2 c. Guittard chips, 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 t. vanilla, and ~1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar. This was entirely sufficient, and the bars did not need any additional white chocolate drizzled over them.

    By the by, I used my microwave’s melt chocolate button for 1/2 c. and put it on below “recommended.” It really looked as if it hadn’t melted, but when I stirred (per the microwave’s instruction), it was absolutely perfect.

    Delicious? Absolutely! Not as sweet as the original (thank goodness!) and rather greasy.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 23rd, 2013 at 12:05 am

      I don’t find them to be greasy at all, but I also make them as written and you used baking soda, which maybe altered the texture. Some brands of butter, climates, etc all vary so it’s hard to say. And have you tried the real ones? They’re pretty moist and soft and loose, i.e. ‘greasy’, but that’s just the way they are. A very soft, supple, tender bar. Thx for trying the recipe.

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    Chris — January 20, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I have made the bliss bars for Christmas gifts and people love them. I changed my bliss bar recipe and use orange zest and orange extract in the frosting, which makes them extra yummy and have a very festive presentation in my opinion.

    I’ve been craving these bars lately but didn’t want to make them so “seasonal.” Now I’m thinking about using dried blue berries (Ocean Spray Craisins type) and have been wondering about sub’ing the orange extract in my recipe with vanilla and a tiny dash of lemon extracts in the frosting. Am I on the right track here?

    My recipe calls also for 1/4 c. minced crystalized ginger as well as 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger. Do you think the ginger should remain if I use blueberries? Just looking for an excuse to celebrate spring and use a different berry.

    PS: My recipe calls for the orange zest to be added to the frosting and not the base. Interesting to see all the variations.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — January 20th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Really just make them according to your taste and what you feel like – you can’t go wrong with blueberries, craisins, ginger, etc. Enjoy! :)

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    Better With Sugar — February 26, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE these bars! They came out perfectly! I’ve made them twice already and I’m sure I’ll be making them MANY more times, they’re absolutely fantastic. And that white chocolate cream cheese frosting. OMG that stuff is absolutely out of this world! Thank you for sharing this recipe Averie!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 26th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      This is one of my fave bar recipes on my whole site! Glad you love them so much too! :)

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    Jemima — May 17, 2014 at 8:16 am

    These are AMAZING! I really love cranberries, so I decided, why not try it. It is definitely one of the best things i have ever made! The frosting was a bit too sweet for my liking, so as a personal preference, i would reduce the sugar in the future. Other than that, these turned out amazing and beautiful! Thank you so much for the recipe, Averie :)

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 17th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Thanks for trying them, Jemima, and glad you loved them! You could always just go with less frosting next time, halve that portion of the recipe. Or just drizzle it on, rather than fully spread it on. The Starbucks version is pretty dang sweet and that’s what these are like but I have a big sweet tooth :)

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    Andrea — October 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Can’t wait to make these. Thinking of making for Christmas gifts. Do this need to be refrigerated? What’s their approximate “shelf life”? Thanks

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 7th, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      It’s discussed within the recipe, near the end. Enjoy them!

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    Amy — October 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    hey averie :) from reading the comments, and my experience today – you may want to leave a note for people at the beginning of this recipe and in the directions.

    i absolutely positively followed this recipe to a t, and while my oven hasn’t recently been calibrated – i know it’s fairly close to actual temperature from other things i’ve made recently.

    i suspect i’m at the opposite end of the spectrum as you are humidity wise – today humidity is at 93.6% for example – and these absolutely positively would not set.

    if i had more spare time i would work on this more and offer up suggestions as to making a recipe like this work in the high humidity of the pacific northwest.

    i think for future i will take comments seriously about high cook times for recipes – and consider baking blogs in the pacific northwest as they are apt to have conditions that are similar humidity wise.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 12th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Thanks for trying the recipe, Amy, and if you read through the comments you’ll see glowing reports from dozens of people, and these are one of my fave recipes and I’ve never had that issue with them but I’m sorry you did!

      I would say just bake them longer, 5 minutes or so (maybe 10?), until they set. Or, add an extra 1/4 cup of flour, give or take, I think either of those two things would do the trick for your humid climate.

      I will say, though, that I vacation in the Caribbean a few times a year and I do cook for my blog when I’m there and recipes that I make there are a totally different animal than in San Diego. I also have a bad oven there but the humidity does change things. There’s a ‘rule of thumb’ to not bake on humid days but I realize that can’t always be avoided. So for anyone in an extremely humid climate I would add more flour and bake longer. Thanks for trying these!

      Reply

      • Amy replied: — October 12th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        Thanks Averie! I have no doubt the recipe works well in lower humidity! I tasted some of the bits on the edges that did harden and they were delicious. I was up over 40 minutes when I had to give up on the recipe. I just think you may want to add a note re flour and humidity over 90% to the recipe – as it sounds to me other people have experienced what I did. I’m chalking it up as a learning experience. I know now I have to consider what recipes to make more carefully because of how it is here. I would have loved if I had known up front.

        • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 12th, 2014 at 11:25 pm

          Unfortunately I can’t made a headnote on all 1000+ recipes in my archives that if someone is baking at altitude, in extreme humidity, baking with GF flour, etc. that their results may very well vary from mine. I do my best to share the recipes I created in my kitchen, and share exactly what I did in extreme detail, but I can’t be a ‘short order cook’ to accommodate every possible scenario that my readers may have in their personal situations. If you’re baking at altitude reduce the baking soda, if you’re baking in humidity add more flour and here’s how much, if you’re baking GF add more brown rice flour…you get the point…that would be a FT job right there! Thanks for understanding!

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    iram — October 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Averie these are divine. I am making it for the 2nd time in 3 days. I hate paying $$ at starbucks for them. These hit the spot! Havea great week

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 20th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      So glad you love them and are going on round 2 in 3 days…love that! And yes, so much better than paying for $tarbucks. :)

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    Elizabeth — October 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Hello Averie!
    Found you on Pinterest. I am baking as I type for a work potuck tomorrow! I’m actually going to cut them into smaller triangles to make the recipe stretch (I’m thinking 16ths). I am super excited because cranberry bliss bars are my Starbucks faves! I’m feeling pretty positive from all the great reviews. I did reduce the amount of white chocolate in the blondie batter only because that is my least favorite part but everything I followed to a T :0) Hopefully it all works out!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — October 23rd, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Enjoy and I’m sure they’ll be a hit!

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    Kerry — November 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I’m gearing up for my holiday baking/freezing frenzy. I’d love to include these in my baskets this year… they look fantastic! How do you think they would freeze?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — November 3rd, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Very well! You may want to do the final touches of frosting at the very end, like just make the bars, freeze, and then frost them after you thaw them, but if you can’t swing that, I think just freezing them totally ready to go would be fine. Enjoy!!

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    Caroline — December 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Made these today and they were a big hit. I agree that they are even better than Starbucks as they taste like homemade rather than mass produced. The only thing I would do next time is make them in a 9×9 pan so the base woud be little thinner and cut them a little smaller as they are pretty sweet. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 7th, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Glad they were a huge hit and I totally agree with ‘better than Starbucks as they taste like homemade rather than mass produced.’ Amen :)

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    Shari+Kelley — December 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I made these last week and absolutely loved them! You are right, they were so easy and quick to make. Now I can get my Cranberry Bliss Bar fix at home!:) Thank you so much for posting this, and all of the details in your directions. I really appreciate it!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 8th, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      So glad you enjoyed these and thanks for saying that all my details in the directions help you! Isn’t it nice to know you can always have your Bliss fix at home now! :)

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    Mel — December 19, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I almost want to hate you for absolutely nailing this recipe. Now that I can have cranberry bliss bars at home that taste exactly the same if not better than my favourite Starbucks treat, I’m worried at how large I’m going to get by this time next year. Amazing recipe, and I couldn’t agree more with the addition of orange zest. A lot of copycat bliss bar recipes I’ve tried before add things like ginger and lemon and I always felt is was orange I was tasting in the real ones. You. Nailed. It. I love you and hate you (in the best way possible). THANK YOU!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — December 19th, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Glad there’s a love-hate relationship going and that these are your new BFFs :) I agree, it’s quite dangerous to be able to have these around, year-round. I totally love them too!

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    Stella — December 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I made these last night and indeed followed your recipe as written. I have an accurately calibrated oven and an oven thermometer I use all of the time because I bake/cook for my family daily. This recipe’s baking time is not accurate with an 8 x 8 pan. Note: you previously cited/linked your recipe from a Taste of Home recipe, which when compared reflects the 18-21 minute bake time for a 13 x 9 pan. Perhaps this is where the error occurred? All told, I baked mine for 35 minutes, they did not burn or blacken because the excess foil used to line the pan was in fact folded over the edges to prevent burning. I did find them delicious, if a bit too sweet (frosting wise). I used 2 cups powdered sugar, next time I will try a 13 x 9 dish and compare. When removed from the pan to frost I was surprised how “greasy” they appeared, but I did not think they tasted greasy at all.

    Reply

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