It's been a long time since my last blog post, so hello again!
It's almost that time of year for Starbucks to bring back one of our holiday favorites, the delicious and beautiful-to-look-at Cranberry Bliss Bars. I don't know about you, but I've been craving those little beauties since they went away last January. Have you, too?
1 box of Krusteaz supreme muffin mix, cranberry orange flavor. These!
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
(optional - a tablespoon of molasses to darken the color of the bars, if you want to make them look more like the originals. I didn't use it, and you can see the color difference in the photos above)
1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese (Pictured here is dairy-free cream cheese, since my kiddos are dairy intolerant, but regular cream cheese is great, too)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave
1 pound (16 oz) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice (to cut the sweetness)
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel (oops...didn't have an orange today, so not pictured below with my ingredients. I just left it out this time and added a little extra orange extract)
Several tablespoons of milk to thin (I used coconut but any kind of milk is fine)
Dash of salt
1/3 cup (heaping) dried cranberries, chopped in halves. Definitely use new, moist craisins, as old dried out ones from a bulk bin or from a previously-opened package are going to be too hard.
Optional - 1/4 cup more white chips, a touch of orange extract, and a teaspoon of veg oil for drizzle
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees farhenheit.
2. Spray a 10 x 15 inch baking pan with Pam. If you use a smaller pan, the bars will be thicker and they won't look like bars so much like a cake.
3) In a bowl, mix the Krusteaz mix, oil, water, orange extract, and eggs.
4) Blend in the can of cranberries that comes in the box, and the white chocolate chips.
5) Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. The dough is going to be very thin, but don't worry...it will rise during baking. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, until the top is light brown.
6) Cool thoroughly in the fridge.
7) In the meantime, make the frosting. Basically, you are making a normal cream cheese frosting but adding in orange extract and orange zest: Blend the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, orange extract, salt, and 3 Tablespoons of milk together by using a mixer. Keep adding milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach a nice thick frosting.
8) Melt the white chips in the microwave, stirring well until completely smooth and melted, and add them in to the frosting. Mix well.
9) Add in the orange zest and blend.
10) Frost the bars with the frosting, then sprinkle the top randomly with the chopped cranberries. Note: If you want to add the drizzle design across the top, melt 1/4 cup more white chocolate chips and mix in a touch of orange extract and a teaspoon of vegetable oil and go to town!
11) Cut the bars into large squares, then cut those in half diagonally to make triangle shaped pieces. It's easier to do the cutting if you refrigerate the bars until firmly set first.
|Bake the bar ingredients until light brown on top|
|Pouring the frosting onto the cooled bars|
|Close-up of the mix|