It wasn’t two seconds after finishing my pumpkin pie that I was blasting Christmas music and decking the halls. It’s not that I wasn’t doing that before Thanksgiving, but it’s nice to not be the only one now. The Christmas season is finally here! That means Delilah on the radio, glitter-frosted everything, elaborate window displays along Michigan Ave and State St and Starbucks red cups.
Since I was 16, Starbucks has been a crucial part of my holiday festivities. Whether it was a Gingerbread Latte during a shopping break at Woodfield, a delicious Snowman Cookie on my way to class or a pound of Christmas Blend for everyone in my family, it seemed like the holidays weren’t complete without a Starbucks accessory.
Since I stopped working at Starbucks in August, those treats suddenly got really expensive. I didn’t get my discount, partner beverage or partner mark out anymore, and that was a hard reality to face. So a few days ago, when I saw a Cranberry Bliss Bar begging me to buy it for over two dollars, I instantly knew what I would be baking on Sunday. I figured if I could master a comparable Cranberry Bliss Bar, I could maintain my tradition and my wallet. So I gave it a shot!
Cranberry Bliss Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks (I used 3/4 cup white chocolate chips)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice (I thought this was a bit much, so I’d suggest 3)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dried cranberries (I’d suggest 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
Beat butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger and salt. Beat well.
Gradually mix in flour until smooth.
Mix cranberries and white chocolate into the batter by hand.
Pour batter into a well-greased 9”x13” pan and spread evenly.
Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Let cool.
To make the frosting, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth.
When cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top and sprinkle with cranberries.
To make the drizzle, mix oil and white chocolate chips in a bowl. Microwave for one minute and then stir until melted completely. Drizzle over bars.
Let cake sit for several hours, then cut into triangles.