A few days after Halloween ended, we started seeing Starbucks advertising their holiday drinks already and the infamous Red Cups started popping up everywhere. Yup, it’s officially the holiday season and I am super PUMPED because I love the holidays 🙂
One of the treats I’ve always wanted to try but too frugal to buy are the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks. They look soooo goood but I typically don’t buy sweets from Starbucks due to their price point. When I stumbled across this recipe to make a replica version, I had to give it a go. Mind you, since I’ve never had the original Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks, I can’t tell you if this is an exact replica but I can tell you it tastes delicious nonetheless!! I’ll be sure to add an update once I’ve tried it for comparison.
This delicious Cranberry Bar is kinda like a cookie bar – topped with a cream cheese frosting and garnished with chopped cranberries. The original recipe I followed asked for orange extract which I did not have and will probably not buy since I would rarely use it in baking. Instead, I opted for orange juice and some orange zest and it tasted awesome!
Once baked, I just cut them up into triangles though I could have just left them as squares… Recipe below!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking tray lined with parchment paper
Beat together melted butter and brown sugar over medium speed with an electric/stand mixer until it comes together into a brownish slush. Add in the eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add in ground ginger, baking powder, salt, and flour and mix until there are no dry lumps. Avoid overmixing.
Stir in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries by hand using a wooden spoon.
Spread the batter evenly onto the bottom of the lined baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes until set and golden brown at the edges. Do not overbake or your bars will become too hard. Allow bars to fully cool before frosting to avoid the frosting from melting.
To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add orange juice and vanilla extract and mix well. Top cooled bars with frosting. Sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries.
Refrigerate the bars for about an hour to allow everything including the frosting to set, and then cut them up into desired shapes and sizes.
Continuing with our holiday baking are these snowflake sugar cookies! The thing I love about sugar cookies is that they are so versatile. Sure… they may look and taste plain at first, but they are essentially a blank canvas for you to decorate! This christmas, I decided to make snowflake sugar cookies because quite frankly… my cookie cutter selection is quite limited so I worked with what I had.. I definitely want to stock up on more cookie cutter shapes next year!
Decorating sugar cookies is quite the art – one I have yet to perfect. Just recently did I get the consistency of the royal icing just right so that it doesn’t run all over the cookie upon piping it. What I still currently struggle with is having the right control when piping the outline. In essence, I have trouble staying inside the lines when coloring -_- Luckily, there were enough cookies that by the time I decorated the last few, I finally started to get the hang of it!
This sugar cookie recipe is my go to. It usually makes a pretty large batch but I try to either halve it or just freeze the rest for another occasion. These sugar cookies are not only perfect for the holidays, but can be great for bake sales or any other occasion where you have an excuse to be creative. For instructions, see below.