Cranberry Bliss Bars
These cranberry bliss bars feature a white chocolate cranberry blondie base and a rich orange cream cheese frosting. Just like Starbucks, but so much better!
If you’re an avid Starbucks coffee drinker, chances are good that you’ve seen their cranberry bliss bars each year on their holiday menu! They’re made with a cranberry white chocolate blondie base, topped with cream cheese frosting, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries plus some white chocolate for good measure.
But, like most baked goods, these homemade cranberry bliss bars beat out the store-bought version every time!
For this recipe, I drew inspiration from my classic blondie recipe (a reader favorite!). In addition to white chocolate chips, I incorporated dried cranberries and ground ginger in the batter to amp up the festive flavor. The cream cheese frosting is flavored with orange zest, which complements the sweet and tart cranberries perfectly.
Skip the line next time and make a big batch of these bars to give as gifts this holiday season instead!
This copycat recipe has three components: the white chocolate cranberry bar base, the orange cream cheese frosting, and the various toppings. I won’t go into detail about every ingredient needed for this recipe, but let’s review the key items you’ll need to have on hand.
- Dried cranberries: I recommend using sweetened dried cranberries in this recipe.
- Ginger: Starbucks actually adds some ginger to their bars, so I highly recommend using it in this recipe! It won’t make the bars taste overly spiced, it will just make them taste even closer to the real deal.
- White chocolate chips: Are incorporated into the blondie batter and are also melted to drizzle over top of the bars. You may use chopped up bars of white chocolate instead, if needed.
- Brown sugar: Sweetens the blondies but also imparts a slight caramel flavor, which pairs nicely with the ginger and cranberries.
- Cream cheese: Please use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese to make the frosting. Whipped or spreadable cream cheese in a tub is too runny to use in this recipe.
How to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. In another mixing bowl, whisk together some melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
Gently fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Be sure not to overmix the batter! Scoop the blondie batter into a parchment paper-lined 9×13-inch baking dish and smooth it out into one even layer.
Bake the blondies just until the top is set and lightly browned, then transfer to a wire rack. Make sure to let the blondies cool completely before frosting!
To make the frosting, add a block of cream cheese to another mixing bowl and beat until smooth. I use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to do this, but you may also use a handheld electric mixer.
Add the powdered sugar, orange zest, and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined.
Once the blondies have cooled, scoop the frosting on top and use the back of a spoon or an angled spatula to smooth it out. Then, sprinkle some more dried cranberries on top.
Melt 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle it all over the bars. You can use a spoon, fork, or even a piping bag for this step, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Pop the bars into the fridge to firm up, then slice into triangles. I usually slice mine into 12 equal-sized squares, then cut each one diagonally to create 24 triangles.
Because the bars are topped with cream cheese frosting, they must be refrigerated. Store them in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out; they will last up to four days.
To freeze the bars, I recommend slicing them and then arranging them in an even layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze the bars until firm (about 1 hour), then wrap each bar in a square of plastic wrap before sealing in a freezer bag. This will prevent the frosted bars from sticking to each other and making a mess once thawed.
- Don’t over beat your eggs! This can incorporate more air into the blondie batter and cause them to turn out cakey. Make sure to only mix in the eggs until just combined.
- My taste testers and I preferred the blondie base without any orange zest or juice. If you want to incorporate more orange flavor into these bars, feel free to add 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange zest to the blondie batter.
- Be sure to measure out your flour using the spoon and level method, rather than scooping it out of the bag with the measuring cup. Scooping out the flour will compact it, and it’s easy to accidentally measure out too much.
More Holiday Recipes To Try!
- Candied Almonds
- Easy Fudge Recipe
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Classic Spritz Cookies
- Easy Sugar Cookie Icing
Cranberry Bliss Bars
White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (250 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled (170 grams)
- 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar (300 grams)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips (135 grams)
- ¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries (90 grams)
Orange Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese softened
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar (150 grams)
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup sweetened dried cranberries (40 grams)
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips (45 grams)
- To make the blondies: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving some overhang for easy removal. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until well combined, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Then, gently fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared 9×13 pan and spread it out into one even layer.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the orange cream cheese icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar, orange zest, and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- To assemble and slice the bars: Spread the icing on top of the cooled blondies and smooth it out into one even layer. Sprinkle the cranberries evenly over the top.
- Place the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20 to 30 second increments until completely melted and smooth.
- Drizzle or pipe the melted white chocolate over the bars. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the white chocolate to harden.
- Slice the bars into 12 squares, then slice each square in half diagonally to create triangles.