Say goodbye to dry blonde brownies and sink your teeth into these chewy white chocolate cranberry bliss bars! They are loaded with cranberries and white chocolate chips and topped with a tasty cream cheese frosting.
I’ve been on a mission to create a soft and chewy blonde brownie, and this is it! I made them different than any recipe I could find and I really think this way is the BEST!
Growing up I never really cared about cranberries. They weren’t even on my radar in fact. But the older I get the more it’s creeping in as one of my can’t-live-without ingredients. They are so good in salads, rice dishes, desserts etc and so how could I not make the famous Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe? Except, this one is actually delicious.
I know, I know, that seems harsh, but their bars are a bit underwhelming and dry in my opinion. When looking up and testing recipes I just kept thinking, this needs to be one of those bars that you just sink your teeth into all slow and delicious. You know what I mean? But blondies, or blonde brownies I should say, seem to be nothing but dry, especially the next day.
Cue the cream cheese. I knew with less water content and more fat than butter that I could possibly make a superior bar and that’s exactly what I did. Cade wasn’t at all convinced and now he keeps begging me to make more. And I will be, including an orange version so stay tuned.
Ingredients for Cranberry Bliss Bars
Most of the ingredients in these bars are things you’ll already have in the fridge or pantry. Here’s your ingredients list so you know where you will need to fill in the gaps:
- Butter – unsalted is preferred, if you only have salted, just omit the salt
- Brown Sugar – adds richness and sweetness
- White Sugar – add sweetness
- Cream Cheese – I’m convinced this is the key to keeping these blondies soft and chewy, make sure it is softened
- Eggs – gives the bars structure and richness, the extra yolk is all about richness
- Vanilla – flavor
- Flour – just good ol’ all purpose
- Cornstarch – keeps the bars tender and chewy
- Baking Powder – add rise and fluffiness to the bars
- Salt – enhances the flavor and cuts through the sweetness
- White Chocolate Chips – adds the perfect creaminess and texture to the bars
- Craisins – I love the tang these add in the bars and on top
- Cream Cheese – who doesn’t love a cream cheese frosting?!
- Powdered Sugar – sweetness and smoothness
- Vanilla – flavor
- Orange Extract – flavor
- Craisins – makes the bars so festive and beautiful
- White Chocolate – just melt in the microwave in a glass measuring cup in 30 second intervals, stirring in between
The measurements of each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars
These blonde brownies are so easy and make such a fun neighbor gift for the holidays! Here are the basic steps:
For the Bars
- Preheat the oven. Prep an 8×11 or 9×13 baking pan with parchment and cooking spray.
- Combine the butter and sugars and beat together. Add the cream cheese and egg yolk and mix again.
- Add the other eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the wet ingredients.
- When everything is almost incorporated, add the white chocolate chips and craisins and stir them in.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking pan and bake (see tip below).
- Cool briefly then put in the fridge. Make the frosting.
For the Frosting
- Beat all the ingredients together and spread over the bars once they are cooled completely.
- Sprinkle the craisins on top and drizzle with melted white chocolate.
- Serve immediately.
All of these instructions can be found in the recipe card down below. You can also print or save the recipe from there as well.
Baking Time Tip
Our bars seem to be finishing around 26-27 minutes in the oven, but I gotta tell ya, I think a little less time like 20-25 minutes might just work. Just play with it and remember, that cream cheese is going to keep the top from browning more, so a gentle tap on top will tell you if they are starting to set up, not the color.
Why are Blonde Brownies Dry?
Usually it’s because there’s a higher ratio of butter that’s been melted down thus leading to a more crisp and crackly topping. Very pretty to look at but dry as can be, especially on day two. These bars are totally not dry in the least bit on day two. In fact, you can make them up to 2 days in advance and though not as amazing as the first day they are almost perfect. Day two you won’t even know they were made in advance!
How Long to Cranberry Bliss Bars Keep?
Keep these bars in an airtight contain in the refrigerator. They will last for up to 5 days.
How to Freeze Cranberry Bliss Bars
Follow the instructions as written and slice them. Put the bars in the refrigerator for a few hours so the frosting will firm up a little and then wrap them plastic wrap and then foil. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can thaw them in the fridge overnight or on the counter for an hour or so when you’re ready to eat them.
Forget the store bought cranberry bliss bars because these are way better! They are soft and chewy and the cream cheese in the bars is just what a blonde brownie needs to be perfect.
More Festive Bar Desserts:
- 3/4 Cup Butter melted
- 1 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup White Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Cream Cheese softened
- 1 Egg Yolk large
- 2 Eggs large
- 1 1/3 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 1/4 Cups Flour
- 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
- 3/4 Cup Craisins
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese softened
- 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon Orange Extract
- 2/3 Cup Craisins roughly chopped
- 2 ounces White Chocolate melted
For the Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the butter and sugars for 1 minute. Add the cream cheese and egg yolk and mix again.
Add the remaining two eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Whisk all dry ingredients together and add to the bowl.
When almost incorporated add the craisins and white chocolate chips, stir and press into a greased and parchment lined 8×11 or 9×13 pan.
Bake 25-30 min.
Cool for about 10 minutes then place in the fridge. Remove after 1 hour or when cooled without becoming cold. *see note
As the bars cool, prepare the frosting.
For the Frosting
Beat everyhing together and once the bars are cooled completely spread over the top.
Sprinkle on the chopped craisins and drizzle with the melted white chocolate.
Serve immediately or store covered in the fridge until 30 min before serving.
Don’t let them stay in the fridge. If needed, remove to the counter and over tightly with foil.
Cranberry Bliss Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Vitamin A 570IU11%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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