One final treat recipe before the New Year! This one got away from me and was supposed to be posted mid December so it could make it onto your holiday baking roster, but such is life. Too much shopping, always too much wrapping paper (I couldn’t resist all the plaids and rustic patterns this year), and lots of treats took up my time and bandwidth, plus trying to wrap up projects and just getting down to the everyday business of life. It’s been a wild month and a great finish to a very good year. I hope your Holiday(s) were excellent and filled with whatever you wished for. unless it was these Cranberry Bars, in which case, I may have failed you utterly. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
I hesitate to call this a ‘copy cat recipe’ but I suppose it is as they look and taste much like the original Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks. Though I’d argue that they are better – the base is more gingerbread-y and you can dial up how much frosting you use if frosting is your thing. They also have more of a citrus note to them from the orange zest, but I digress …
Luckily, pantry staples will see you through, with the luxurious addition of some white chocolate bits … but maybe you already have those on hand, I’m not here to judge.
Into the pans and into the oven! The base to these bars is tender and cakey but sturdy, all the better to hold up the cream cheese frosting and extra white chocolate and cranberries. Top the cooled bases and cut into 32 wedges (16 per round) and if you’re nicer than me, pack some up for a friend, or put some out for guests. Your choice. Santa’s not going to pay attention for another 11 months, so do what you wish with these …
makes 32 wedges
¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup molasses
2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup dried chopped cranberries, divided
1 cup white chocolate chips, divided
½ cup cream cheese
1½ cups icing sugar
1 Tbsp milk
Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add the molasses, stirring to fully combine. Add the beaten eggs one at a time – the mixture may separate at this point but that will not effect the final product. Add the ginger and orange zest.
Sift together the dry ingredients and add slowly, fully mixing before adding the next portion. Stir in half of the white chocolate and half of the cranberries. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the top with a knife or offset spatula.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the pans 5 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack.
While the thin cakes cool, combine the cream cheese, icing sugar and milk in a bowl. Once the cake is fully cool, frost each round with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining cranberries and white chocolate pieces. Cut each round into 16 wedges. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.