The end of the year is upon us, so I thought I’d squeeze in one last nod to Trader Joe’s and the fantastic assortment of goodies they supply us amateur bakers with this time of year. This recipe will also remind us why Starbucks still comfortably maintains its perch high atop the list of all–time favorite coffee places ever.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I have enjoyed plenty of Starbucks’ coffee–friendly bites over the years. These Cranberry Bliss Bars are a seasonal favorite to many, and it’s no wonder why Americans reportedly gain an average of five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (must they taunt our taste buds so deliciously in such a short amount of time?). Maybe if they offered them all year long we wouldn’t feel compelled to gorge on them so shamelessly during the holidays.
This isn’t the official recipe from Starbucks (they’d be pretty stupid to give that up!), but it is a darned good version of it. Now you can pace yourself throughout the year and not load all of your sweet calories into one month at the end of the year!
WI wine recommendation: These bars go great with coffee, so you could easily enjoy them with some Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua or even Starbucks Cream Liqueur. You could even pull out that Vintage Port you received as a holiday gift. Of course, Champagne or sparkling wine pairs well with these bars as will most dessert wines.
Cranberry Bliss Bars
(Adapted from Mr. Breakfast)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1–1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1–1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Dried Cranberries, minced
1/4 cup plus 1/4–1/3 cup Trader Joe’s White Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Crystallized Ginger Slices, minced
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1–1/2 cups powdered sugar
Green sugar crystals
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until fluffy.
Sift together flour, ginger, and salt. Add it to the butter–sugar mixture, beating well. Fold in the 1/4 cup cranberries, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and minced ginger.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes (or until lightly golden). Allow to cool completely in pan.
Meanwhile, mix together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. Add the powdered sugar in slowly; beating until fully incorporated and smooth.
Remove the cooled cake to a large cutting board. Spread the frosting over the cake in an even layer. At this point, you can optionally trim the entire outside edge of the cake to give it straight edges (if your baking pan has curved corners like mine does).
Cut the frosted cake into vertical quarters, then horizontally halve each quarter. Cut each piece in half diagonally. Sprinkle the remaining minced cranberries, chocolate chips and the green sugar crystals over the tops of each triangular bar.
December 23, 2009 at 2:34 am
These look awesome! I am always on the hunt for more Christmas-looking cookies