Cranberry White Chocolate Bars {Recipe}

This past Christmas I became a bit obsessed with re-creating Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars.  These delicious treats are one of Starbucks most popular holiday desserts.  The Starbucks version consists of a chewy, cake base (similar to a blondie) studded with white chocolate chunks and cranberries, then a delicious cream cheese frosting, topped with more cranberries and a drizzle of white chocolate.  Sounds delicious, right?  This is why I had to learn to make them!

After purchasing two Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks (in the name of research), reading the ingredient list of the original (from Starbucks) and then reading through at least a dozen different recipe claiming to be the “top secret recipe”, I headed to the kitchen and worked up a recipe that I’m really happy with.  I made several batches over Christmas and the bars received rave reviews from all of my “taste-testers”  (the official panel includes my friends, neighbors and my husband’s co-workers).  Now to be fair, the end results of my recipe tests did not create an exact copy of the original Starbucks version.  Although I know this recipe has most all of the same ingredients, the Starbucks version is a bit chewier, and this recipe is a bit more cake-like.  But the flavor is right on.  And everyone who tasted my version said they were as good, if not better than the “original”.

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (slightly softened)

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped

6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips

~ Frosting ~

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange extract

1/2- 2/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped

2 ounces white chocolate, melted

~ Directions ~

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 (F) degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan then set aside (I also like to line the pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the two long sides- this allows the bars to be pulled out of the pan after baking for easier cutting).

2.)  In a medium bowl add the flour, powdered ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set bowl aside.

3.)  In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and mix well.  Gradually add the flour mixture and blend until combined.

4.)  Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

5.)  Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6.) Prepare frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and orange extract.  Beat about 1 minute until fully incorporated.

7.)  Assemble dessert by spreading the frosting onto the baked and cooled bars.  Sprinkle additional cranberries on top.  Drizzle melted white chocolate on top as desired.

Recipe Source ~ Final recipe by Glorious Treats

(Adapted from Mr. Breakfast, based on the original recipe from Starbucks)

Share these delicious treats with someone you love!

To make heart shaped bars, I used a heart cookie cutter.

You could also cut the bars into triangles, and then argue with your friends that you did in fact make them (and didn’t just buy them from Starbucks).

~ Shopping notes ~

Cute red and white straws from Shop Sweet Lulu.

The little milk bottles were a gift from a friend.  Similar ones are available from Sharnel Dollar Design.

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44 Responses to “Cranberry White Chocolate Bars {Recipe}”

  1. #
    Haniela — January 28, 2011 at 2:22 am

    They look delicious.
    I think I'll give these a try, I have delicious dry cherries that I could substitute.
    Love the bottles with the straws!

  2. #
    Amy K — January 28, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Yeah, thanks for sharing your recipe. I can't wait to try them…they look amazing.

  3. #
    Blog is the New Black — January 28, 2011 at 4:04 am

    These sound awesome and I love the photo styling!

  4. #
    Ivona@SugarsticksParties — January 28, 2011 at 4:47 am

    They sounds great! I can't wait to try them:)

  5. #
    Anna ♥ Sugarized — January 28, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Oh wow..this looks yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

  6. #
    mom2booandbobo — January 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Followed Sugar Belles advice and checked out your blog…and boy howdy am i glad that i did! Can't wait to try this recipe. Sorry Starbucks….i think you are gonna lose me to this recipe:-)

  7. #
    Caroline — January 28, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Oh my gosh, these look so good. There is something about trying to replicate Starbucks' fare that is so satisfying to me. When I can get a similar taste at a fraction of the cost, I'm a happy camper!

  8. #
    SweetSugarBelle — January 28, 2011 at 6:51 am

    You are going to be ashamed of me. I am going to wait ALL year and remember to buy one from Starbucks next year so I know what I am missing.

    Just kidding! I am going to try and con mom into making them so I can taste them. More my friend Lori. Or my friend Glory =)

  9. #
    Raquel — January 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I'm Spanish and I love your blog, it's beautiful.
    I invite you to mine anytime
    I stand here looking at your recipes
    Your recipe is wonderful.

  10. #
    Save the Date for Cupcakes — January 28, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Those look delish! I would so love one right now!!1

  11. #
    moejoetreasures — January 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Ok, this is going to be a GREAT project for the day! Not to mention, lol, oh-oh, danger-ful blog, I've just discovered…
    Just kidding…I am already printing out the recipe!!!!!
    As ever, Moe

  12. #
    Chele — January 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Delicious!! Can't wait to try this recipe out ;0)

  13. #
    Joy — January 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I think they warrant an OMG! They look delumptious, I am gonna try em this weekend. Might just `need` the bottles too ;D

  14. #
    Chef Bee — January 28, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Looks like you nailed it. I bet yours are better.

    Plan B

  15. #
    Holly — January 28, 2011 at 10:55 am

    These are so pretty to look at and delicious too:)

  16. #
    The Sweet Spot Candy Bar — January 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Great job! What a perfect treat for Christmas OR Valentine's Day!

  17. #
    Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) — January 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    This is just gorgeous! I love your presentation and the recipe is very perfect for Valentine's day with all those cranberries and the white choc.

  18. #
    Sue — January 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Oh boy, do they look GOOD!

  19. #
    Monique — January 29, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Oh My these look delicious!! I love the milk in the milk bottles with the straws… Very cool pictures!!

    Thank you for the recipe too :)

  20. #
    Cristina — January 29, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I can't wait to try your recipe. They're still serving the Cranberry bliss bars at one of the Starbucks around here and I'll be sad when they pull them from the market until later this year. Beautiful presentation & photography! 😉

  21. #
    Loren @ The Baking Sheet — January 29, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Wow, those look great! Could you recreate the recipe for a Grande White Chocolate Mocha for me too? ;o)

  22. #
    Rosy — January 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Great and beautiful photos…

  23. #
    Cecilia — January 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I love the little milk bottles! Gee where'd you get them??? ;0)
    Love you!

  24. #
    Connie — January 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

    They look delisios and Im so ready to give them a try :) I love your blog and all the great treats you show us. Thanks for sharing :)

  25. #
    Tammy — January 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Those look delicious! I Love white chocolate over dark any day!

  26. #
    I'm Delicious... — February 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    I also run a food blog and will be featuring your recipe tomorrow morning.

  27. #
    Anonymous — February 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I was so impressed by the pictures and everyones comments and did try these bars yesterday…..but very disappointed!! They came out too buttery and too sweet and after baking them for 25 minutes and then an additional 15 minutes, the cake was not baked fully in the middle.

    Any suggestions, since I would definitely like to try it AGAIN!

  28. #
    Glory/ Glorious Treats — February 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Annonymous- Sometimes it just comes down to personal tastes. I have made these several times with great results and everyone loves them! Just today I had another e-mail in my box from someone who tried them and loved them! I bake mine in a metal 9"x13" baking pan, and bake in a fully pre-heated oven. The bars are quite sweet. You are welcome to adjust the sugar to your tastes.

  29. #
    Wende — February 25, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Hi Glory!

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this little gems for the teachers on Valentines Day to great reviews. I also blogged about it….

    Please keep the great recipes coming!


  30. #
    Cecania Tallmadge — April 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Wow – it looks really delicious. I'll try making this when I'm not so busy. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I hope my kids will love it. :)

  31. #
    Elizabeth — September 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

    THANK YOU!!! Thank you for figuring out a recipe for these. I love them, but can't afford to buy them too often. I'll have to try this recipe. You are awesome!

  32. #
    Laura S. — September 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I'm not really big on cranberries but these look delicious. Gonna have to try these. My daughter and granddaughters made your candy corn parfaits yesterday, they came out great!

  33. #
    Debbie — November 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Can't wait to make these….how far in advance can these be made? Can I freeze them?

  34. #
    sweetsimplestuff — December 17, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I am thrilled to find your recipe … I just had my first cranberry bliss bar at Starbucks! Thank you for stopping by my site!

  35. #
    Candy and Cake — December 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Ooh…thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!!! Love these from Starbucks…will definately try this christmas and maybe fool others too..:)
    Happy Holidays!

  36. #
    Jenny@daysofchalkandchocolate — February 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I just love cranberries and white chocolate. These looks so delicious. I featured them in a Valentine's Day collection today!

  37. #
    I Want To Make This — February 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    These look delicious! I wanted to let you know that I linked to this post on my blog post "21 Delicious Desserts for Your Valentine".
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  38. #
    Meredith — February 9, 2012 at 5:49 am

    I wanted to let you know that I featured this on my blog (and your cookies!)

  39. #
    Linda — January 29, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Reviews are to give opinions on the recipe. To my knowledge that means making & tasting it . ….not saying how good it looks or I want to try it. In fact one defination is to evaluate !!!!!!

    • Glory replied: — January 30th, 2013 @ 12:00 am

      Linda, I welcome review of my recipes, but this is not a “review” format. Any recipe or photos posted her are made and photographed by one single person, me. Nice comments on my posts are my “reward” for spending my days baking and preparing treats to share with my readers…. recipes I hope people will try, and love. This site is where I share my ideas, experience and expertise. Comments to my posts are labeld as such (“comments”) not reviews.

  40. #
    Cynthia — December 24, 2013 at 4:05 am

    I have had this recipe pinned for a while, but just didn’t want to tackle it. I am glad that I did! Wonderful and like the “cake like” texture. Thanks


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