Let me start by letting you know I’ve never had a Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bar, but the web is full of copy cat recipes.  I had my second holiday cookie exchange this week, so I thought I’d test a couple to see which was closer to my idea of cranberry bliss.

They were both wonderful…the first more cheesecake-like and the second more cakey.  You won’t go wrong with either. And nothing says holiday more than cranberries!

I’d made these before…also known as “Better than Bliss Bars”:

Cranberry Bliss Bars…Version #1 via Cheezz at eat.at

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats
3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar, divided
1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

Preheat oven 350°. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking pan. 

In large bowl combine flour, oats, 3/4 cup sugar and butter; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture for topping, and press the rest into the greased pan. Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy, gradually mix in condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Pour evenly over crust. In small bowl combine remaining sugar, cornstarch and cranberry sauce. Spoon over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top. 

Bake 40 minutes. Cool at room temperature, refrigerate before cutting. Store in refrigerator.

This second recipe is supposed to be closer to the original bars: 

Cranberry Bliss Bars…Version #2…adapted from Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar 

2 teaspoons orange extract

2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing
2 ounces chopped white chocolate melted with 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350º.

Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth.

Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries, crystallized ginger and white chocolate into the batter by hand.

Pour batter into a well-greased 9 x 13 baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Let cool.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar,orange extract, water, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.

When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake. Sprinkle top with diced cranberries.

For drizzle, melt white chocolate gently in microwave.  Stir in oil.  Let cool slightly and scrape into small ziplock bag.  Snip small hole in corner and drizzle over bars.

Allow cake to sit several hours, then slice.


 I just LOVE my neighbors…so fun celebrating Christmas with you all!
The second recipe is my Weekend Blog Showcase entry.  This is where I get a chance to share a recipe found on another favorite blog.  This week, I’m introducing: Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats. Jaime tweaked the copy-cat cranberry bliss bar recipe to perfection…her additions orange extract and crystallized ginger make a truly exceptional bar.  Please check out her fabulous blog!