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.

Sweet Valentine’s for Kids {and a free printable}

There is something extra special about a handmade Valentine.  And a Valentine handmade by a child… even sweeter!

I’m blessed to have a little daughter who loves crafting as much as I do.  So, each year we have fun making and packaging little treats for her friends.  In past years we’ve made cookies and added hand written tags (using scrapbooking paper).

This year I designed a simple tag (to share with you!) and we attached them to little bags of treats.  These tags could be added to bags of cookies, candies, or little toys.

(Click the photo above or link below to download and print your own).

 Valentine’s Treat Bag Toppers

To make your own tags, simply print out the Valentine’s Treat Bag Labels onto white cardstock.

(After printing) Trim 1/4 inch off all sides of the full sheet of paper.  Cut labels into 4 inch wide by 3.5 inch tall tags.  Fold tags in half (using a bone folder if you have one).  Fill a clear (or printed) bag (4 inches wide) with treats.  Fold over the top of the treat bag, cover the folded edge of the bag with a (pre-folded) tag and staple in place.

I’ve posted similar style tags in previous post, HERE, HERE and HERE which may give you a few more ideas.

Valentine’s Sweets, Treats and Ideas

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays to make treats for.  Sweets and treats both simple and elaborate can be used to show love to those around us.  The simple color palate of red, white and pink can be adjusted to feel charmingly old fashioned or stylish and modern. 
I’ve gathered a few of my favorite sweets, and then also some of my favorite “treats” from a variety of lovely shops to give you a bit of inspiration for Valentine’s Day. 
~Above~
Top row (L to R)
Cranberry White Chocolate Bars (recipe)
Chocolate rolled cookies (recipe) decorated with royal icing (recipe).
Chocolate Cupcake (recipe) with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe).
Bottom row (L to R)
Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe) with Chcolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe).
Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe), frosted, then topped with rolled fondant and a fondant bow.
Chocolate rolled cookies (recipe) decorated with royal icing (recipe).
*All images above by Glory Albin (Glorious Treats)
~ Details (above) ~
1.  Pink and brown cupcake liners from Simply Caked.
2.  Chocolate Macarons from The Macaronner.
3.  Fondant cupcake toppers by Kids Cakes.
4.  Heart shirt by Modern Frills.
5.  Personalized labels by Littlebeane Boutique.
6.  Pink treat bags by Shop Sweet Lulu.
7.  Bakers twine (color is Maraschino) by The Twinery.
8.  Handmade fabric banner by Blue Moon Studios.

*Images above by the shops listed 

Tiny Prints {Giveaway!}

Today I have a fun giveaway sponsored by Tiny Prints.

This past Christmas I ordered our family photo Christmas cards from Tiny Prints and I was so pleased with them!  Several of my friends actually commented on what nice quality cards they were.

Tiny Prints is giving a $50.00 gift certificate to one lucky Glorious Treats reader.

~ How to enter ~

For one entry~ Simply head over to Tiny Prints and take a look at some of their wonderful products.  Then come back here and let me know what you might like to order if you win.

For a second entry~  Sign up as a follower of Glorious Treats and/or “like” Glorious Treats on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you’re a follower and/or fan.

For each entry, PLEASE include your e-mail address!

Entries with no contact information will not be eligible to win.

A maximum of two entries per person.

 The winner will be chosen using Random.org. This giveaway will end Thursday, January 27th at 8:00pm Pacific time.

~Giveaway Closed~

Chocolate Rolled Cookies {Recipe}

Valentine’s season is one of my favorite times of year to make decorated cookies (second only to Christmas).  One thing I like about Valentine’s cookies is that you can get away with just a simple shape (a heart) and three colors (red, white, and pink) and still make some really special cookies.

For Valentine’s cookies I often set aside my “regular” sugar cookie recipe and make some delicious Chocolate rolled cookies.  In fact, this recipe is so delicious I should really pull it out more often!  This recipe is a slight variation of a recipe a friend gave me several years ago.

Chocolate Rolled Cookies

1 cup butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 Tablespoons chocolate liqueur or extra strong coffee (this can be made with about 1 teaspoon of instant espresso dissolved into 2 Tablespoons warm water)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.) Sift together (or gently stir with a whisk) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

2..)  With an electric mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.

2.)  Beat in egg, coffee or liqueur, and vanilla.

3.)  Add in flour/cocoa mixture about 1 cup at a time.  Blend until fully incorporated.  (If you are using a hand mixer you may need to add the last cup of flour by hand).

4.)  Divide dough into two or three large balls, place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours (if you’re in a hurry, you can chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer).

5.)  Once chilled, work with one ball of dough at a time, and roll onto a lightly floured surface.  I find it works best to place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough, and then roll on top of the parchment.  This prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, and you also don’t need to add as much extra flour (as you would without the parchment).

6.)  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet.

7.)  Place the baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer about 5 minutes (this helps the dough keep it’s shape when baked).

8.)  Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes (depending on size) in a 350*F oven.

9.)  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

10.)  Decorate as desired.

Recipe Source- Glorious Treats

HERE is my royal icing recipe as well as lots of decorating tips to get you started.

HERE is a decorating tutorial from Karen’s Cookies that shows several of the same decorating techniques I used for these Valentine’s cookies.

Happy Baking!