Thursday, April 11, 2013
Cranberry Bliss Bars
I came across these cranberry bliss bars when searching something else through some food blogs..and what caught my attention is the word starbucks where the bars are sold during holiday season which I never realised before !
This holiday classic is made with a delicious blondie cake base, topped with sweet cream cheese icing and tart dried cranberries and garnished with a delicious drizzle including white chocolate and orange zest.
The recipe I've choose to try is not a copycat one and the best way to judge or know whether the version I've tried is better than the original one or not is to wait until the holiday season ! But at the meantime, at least I've got the one I like to enjoy eating!
The recipe ( slightly adapted from here. )
For the Bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
65 g light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the Frosting and Topping
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 scant cups icing sugar (I used about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the Bars - Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper, lightly grease with butter, 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 and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.
Bake for 16 to 18 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, beat cream cheese until smooth, add about three-quarters of the melted white chocolate (about 3/4 cup, just eyeball it), icing sugar , vanilla, zest 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. Spread the mixture evenly over the blondie base; 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.