★★★★★

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Just like the one you love from the big coffee chain! Everyone loves Cranberry Bliss Bars and with this recipe you can impress your friends with tasty treats without breaking the bank. Chewy blondie base with a cream cheese frosting!

Add a batch of Cake Mix Cookies to your holiday baking trays. And don’t forget some simple Chocolate Dipped Oreos with festive sprinkles to round out the cookie trio!

Cranberry bliss bars cut into triangles on parchment paper.

Why this Recipe is Best

A buttery dessert bar with a cream cheese frosting and tart cranberries is a Starbucks pastry case staple.

Like the sip of the season’s first Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in October, biting into a Cranberry Bliss Bar is a surefire way to get yourself in the holiday spirit.

The richness of these bars is made all the better by the dried cranberries folded into the batter. They add just the right balance of sour to complement the sweetness of the frosting.

Can we talk about the frosting by the way? In some cases, less is more when it comes to frosting. That’s definitely not so with these bars. That thick layer of creamy sweet icing with a hint of orange flavor makes these bars irresistible.

But sadly Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar season doesn’t last forever. And even while it lasts, your bank account might have a few strong words about making a daily bliss bar purchase too much of a habit.

I’m a big fan of recreating my favorite restaurant dishes at home, like these Flourless Cookies and this Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Along with the obvious economic incentive, there are other perks, too. For example, I can eat all the bliss bars I want without ever leaving my pajamas.

After how well my Starbucks Lemon Loaf and Pumpkin Scones turned out, I was confident I could figure out a way to recreate those delicious Bliss Bars. These turned out better than I could have imagined!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make cranberry bliss bars.

Recipe starts with a blondie base:

  • Melted Butter- melting the butter (without chilling the dough before baking) helps create a chewy bar.
  • Brown Sugar- using all brown sugar (combined with the melted butter) gives these blondies a rich caramel flavored cookie base.
  • Ginger- a warm spicy flavor to give these bars depth.
  • Orange extract- if you can’t find this, use about a teaspoon of orange zest in the batter (and another teaspoon of zest in the frosting).
  • Cranberries- you’ll want to use Craisins here…not freeze dried cranberries and not fresh cranberries.
  • White chocolate chips- the perfect addition of flavor

PRO TIP- We love making our own homemade vanilla extract, but if using store bought, be sure it’s pure extract, not imitation (for best flavor).

For the Icing:

  • Cream Cheese- use a full fat block of cream cheese. Don’t use the kind that comes in a tub. Be sure to let the cream cheese soften to room temperature before using.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla & Orange Extracts
  • White Chocolate- you won’t use the whole bag of white chocolate chips for the batter. Use some here to drizzle over the top of the bars to give the finish of a bakery!

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make cranberry bliss bars.

Mix the wet ingredients. Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and the extracts, continuing to beat until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients. Mix until just barely combined. Be careful not to overmix! Gently fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries.

Bake. Spread the batter evenly into a prepared baking dish and bake the bars for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the dish from the oven and let the bars cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting and melt white chocolate in a separate dish.

Frosting Tips

This is NOT your average cream cheese frosting!

While it starts with cream cheese whipped with powdered sugar, it gets its unique flavor from the addition of vanilla extract and orange extract.

The subtle hint of citrus works wonders in this frosting!

If you can’t find orange extract, use about 1 teaspoon of fresh orange zest in the frosting.

Spread the frosting in a thick and even layer over the pan of cooled bars.

Sprinkle chopped cranberries over top then drizzle with the melted white chocolate. Cut into squares or triangles and enjoy!

Cranberry bliss bars on a wooden cutting board.

Tips and Tricks

  • Be careful not to over mix the batter for these bars! Too much mixing will make the bars tough.
  • Got leftover cream cheese frosting? Save it for the next time you make cinnamon rolls or Gingerbread Cookies. The frosting keeps well stored covered in the fridge for about a week.
  • Add these to your Christmas cookie trays or bring them along to your next holiday shin-dig. Of course, Cranberry bars are so good you might just be tempted to keep them all for yourself.

Recipe FAQs

How long do cranberry bliss bars last?

You should store cranberry bliss bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Can you freeze cranberry bliss bars?

Cranberry Bliss Bars are great for freezing. Store in freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

Why are my cranberry bliss bars dry?

Cranberry bliss bars are very moist. If you’re experience dry bars, it is most likely that you over baked them. Be sure to check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

Blondie topped with cream cheese frosting and craisins, cut into triangles.
Yield: 24

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes

Just like the one you love from the big coffee chain! Everyone loves Cranberry Bliss Bars and with this recipe you can impress your friends with tasty treats without breaking the bank.

Ingredients

For the bars

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

For the topping

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¼ cup white chocolate, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. For the bars, in a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until well blended. Add in eggs and extracts, beating until combined.
  3. Add in ginger, baking powder, salt, and flour, and beat just until blended (do not over mix). Fol in white chocolate chips and cranberries.
  4. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 22 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove and cool completely before frosting.
  5. For the frosting, beat cream cheese with powdered sugar for 3 minutes, until creamy. Add in extracts and beat an additional 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Spread over cooled bars and sprinkle with chopped cranberries.
  6. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate about an hour before slicing. ENJOY.

Notes

  • Be careful not to over mix the batter for these bars! Too much mixing will make the bars tough.
  • Got leftover cream cheese frosting? Save it for the next time you make cinnamon rolls or Gingerbread Cookies. The frosting keeps well stored covered in the fridge for about a week.
  • Use homemade vanilla extract for a great flavor boost!
  • Can't find orange extract? Zest a large orange. Use about 1 teaspoon of zest in the batter, and 1 teaspoon of zest in frosting.
  • Store bars in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 3g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Copycat Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are a welcome treat for the holidays–or anytime of year!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on December 3, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. I’ve never seen them at Starbucks and I have frozen cranberries. Any suggestions on how to use them in this recipe? Maybe defrost and dry them out in the oven a bit?

  2. Can I use almond extract instead of the orange extract? If so, do I use the same amount? I don’t have orange extract and don’t want to buy any as it would hardly ever get used. Truth be told, I’m not fond of many orange flavored desserts (gasp!). Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks good.

      1. I came here to comment that I used Almond extract because I didn’t have orange and saw this question. I can attest that almond was a perfect choice! Wow. This recipe is SO good and was a huge hit at our house. I’ve never had a Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar before (gasp, I know) but these have to be better!

  3. Was excited to see this recipe and even though it is early March I will be making them now. I love all things cranberry. Thanks for the recipe.

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