Heavenly Cranberry Bars (Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars Upgrade!)
If you’re looking for a low-calorie dessert that people will enjoy but then forget about – these bars are not for you.
BUT if you’re looking for he most decadent, delicious, dangerously addictive dessert you’ve ever tasted, or if your goal is to become the most popular princess at your next potluck party – THESE ARE YOUR BARS!!!
Let me introduce you to my Heavenly Cranberry Bars. These are a knock off (or, rather, an “upgrade”) to Starbucks’ “Cranberry Bliss Bars." They are rich, chewy, and everyone’s favorite.
I created this recipe after obsessing over Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss bars last Fall. I wanted mine to be gluten-free, so I played around with all sorts of flour substitutes. That is when I stumbled upon Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour – and I will say that’s the key to this recipe!
When I made thee bars for my grandma Linda, she fell so in love with them that she said they were all she wanted for her birthday. (People love them THAT much.) Seriously, these bars are to die for. They take a little bit of work, but I promise you they’re worth it. (Just make sure you give plenty of them away, because if they’re in your house, they’ll be impossible for you to have discipline with! My strategy is to eat one myself, and give the rest away to neighbors and coworkers. It helps me stay on track, and also makes me a lot of friends!)
What You’ll Need:
For the Bars:
- 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free flour
- 1 cup grass-fed butter or vegan butter substitute
- 1 ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups white chocolate chips
- 1 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
- ¾ cup slivered almonds
Frosting & Topping:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup cranberries
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350-degrees F. Line a 12x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper. (Another option is to line your pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.)
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and ½ tsp. almond extract. Set bowl aside when thoroughly mixed.
- In another bowl, combine baking powder, salt, and flour until thoroughly mixed. Then, combine both bowls and mix until a batter forms. (I recommend slowly mixing the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients.) Then, stir in 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, 1 cup cranberries, and ¾ cup slivered almonds into the batter.
- Spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the prepared pan, and bake for 18-22 minutes (until the edges are golden brown). Be careful not to over bake or the bars will be too hard. Note: this batter will spread like a thick cookie batter. Spray nonstick on a rubber spatula to easily spread the batter.
- Allow bars to cool uncovered for at least 45 minutes until bars are no longer warm to the touch. (To expedite this process, cool the bars in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.)
To Make the Frosting:
- Warm 8 oz. cream cheese in a microwave for 15-20 seconds.
- Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, ½ vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer (or your Kitchen Aid) to blend thoroughly.
- Spread the frosting onto the cooled bars.
- Top with cranberries slivered almonds.
- Optional: For extra pizzazz, heat white chocolate chips in a double broiler and use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the top of bars. Allow to cool completely before cutting bars. Consume within 3 days, or store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Photos courtesy of my good friend Jonathan Simons Photography!