Sunday, December 14, 2014

White Chocolate Cranberry Bars

I will never be a food photographer!
Today I'm sharing the recipe for my White Chocolate Cranberry Bars. This recipe has been adapted from a couple of different places and is basically a knockoff or copycat of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars. And it's good. :)

But first - just have to share that I had my LAST class of the year for my ESOL teaching job this week (and my last party ;) )  I also surviving finishing up my end-of-semester paperwork. This is one of the things I like least about my job. But the paperwork is what helps us get the grant that funds my program, which means my students get to take free English classes and I still get paid. So at the end of the day, it's worth it (even though I will continue to complain!)

After taking this picture, I spread all the paperwork out even more across the table! 
Keeping everything organized! Party supplies in the bag on the left, paperwork in the middle, and the day's lesson plans in the bag on the right  :)  Check them all out here.
I managed to make it to run club this weekend, which was great. I did a total of 5 miles on Saturday, including 3 with a friend at run club. He is a professor and also on the board of the department where J works, so we spent a lot of time discussing very academic and intellectual matters ;) And yet it was still strangely relaxing because we were running while having that conversation. Later that day J and I got our Christmas tree (finally) and hung our wreath on the front door. Hopefully soon we'll get around to actually decorating said tree!  We also went to two holiday parties. At the second party, we met a man who said he worked with musicians in Nashville (he is a musician himself). He mentioned that he didn't really like to work with the larger groups, but preferred small-time artists. Like Joni Mitchell. (that sound you just heard was my jaw hitting the floor!) J is particularly fond of Joni, and this man promised that next week when he talks to Joni he will tell her J says hi. I think that's pretty darn cool.

Before I share the recipe, I just want to say how much more I enjoy baking since the wedding because I have such nice tools now and using them reminds me of the lovely people who gave them to me! So thankful with this recipe for my stand-mixer (not required, but certainly makes things easier), my actually-non-stick bakeware, and my microplane zester :)

 And, without further ado, the recipe:

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars



1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half all purpose, and half King Arthur Flour White Wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 oz white chocolate chips


1 8-oz package of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 Tablespoon orange zest (feel free to do this to taste. With this amount the orange flavor is very subtle, but you may want more.)
3oz melted white chocolate (chips worked fine, but melts or baking chocolate would probably be better)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
optional: melted white chocolate for drizzling on top


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. (note: the blondie layer will be pretty thin in this size pan, you can use a slightly smaller pan for a thicker blondie. I think 10x10 would also work nicely.)
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl OR the bowl for your stand mixer (if using - it's certainly not required!), combine brown sugar and melted butter. Let cool.
4. Beat eggs and vanilla in with brown sugar/butter mixture.  Gradually add the dry mixture to this.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.  This will make a very thick batter.
6. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

What it looks like before frosting!
While it cools, prepare the frosting:
1. Use electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Gradually stir in the melted white chocolate. Add orange zest (and feel free to taste it at this point to decide if you'd like more than I used in my recipe!)

When the blondie layer has cooled, frost it and sprinkle the cranberries on top. If desired, drizzle additional white chocolate on top. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

All done! (I made a double batch and put some into smaller pans, hence the not-9x13-pan in the picture)

And try not to eat the whole pan yourself :) 

Tomorrow I've got a date with 38 final exam essays for the class I'm teaching online. I probably should start tonight, but the sewing machine is calling my name... 

No comments:

Post a Comment