Soft blondies filled with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips and topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting (similar to Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars). These Cranberry White Chocolate Bars make a fantastic holiday dessert!
These bars are a huge crowd favorite. I’ve been making them for several years and they are always quickly devoured. If you’ve had a Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar, then you know how great this combination of flavors is. These are a very close replica to the Starbucks bars, but I actually like them better! Plus, it’s way more affordable to whip these up at home.
This recipe is made up of a soft and sweet blondie bar which is filled with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. The blondie batter comes together in a matter of minutes. Once baked and cooled, the bars are topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and then garnished with more dried cranberries and a few drizzles of melted white chocolate.
The red and white colors makes these bars perfect for the holiday season. Bake a batch and enjoy!
Cranberry White Chocolate Bars (Copycat Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- milk to thin (if necessary)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips melted (see note)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the bars:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or spray an 9x9 square pan or 8.5x11 pan and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pan with foil and grease the foil.
In a large bowl, whisk melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract, whisk until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until the ingredients are combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips. Spread the batter in an even layer in the prepared pan (the batter will be thick).
Bake the 9x9 pan for 18-20 minutes or the 8.5x11 pan for 15-18 minutes. The bars are done when they have puffed slightly, are light brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. They will appear a little underdone but they will continue to cook as they cool. Be careful not to over bake them. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the frosting:
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in half of the melted white chocolate and beat to combine. Add a splash of milk, if necessary, to thin the frosting. Spread the bars with the frosting and scatter the dried cranberries on top. Drizzle the remaining melted white chocolate over the top.
Store the bars tightly covered in the refrigerator, I find that they cut cleanest once they have been refrigerated. Allow them to sit at room temperature for an hour or so before serving.
Melting white chocolate: You can melt it in the microwave or in a double boiler. I usually go the microwave route because it's faster (and creates fewer dishes) but you have to melt it very slowly. I put it in for 10-15 seconds at a time and stir between each interval. If you over cook it, the chocolate will pass the melted stage and turn hard and lumpy and you'll have to start over. I have the best luck with good quality white chocolate. I typically use Guittard or Ghirardelli.
I have made this exact recipe in an 9x9 square pan and an 8.5x11 pan. The 9x9 will make bars that are a little bit thicker, whereas the 8.5x11 pan will make thinner bars (my photos are from bars made in an 8.5x11). See the baking times above. You'll want to make sure not to over cook these.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home