Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars

24 servings
40 min

TODAY I'M SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS RECIPE WITH YOU! PICTURE ME STANDING IN MY KITCHEN, BOUNCING UP AND DOWN, HANDS CLASPED TOGETHER, BECKONING YOU TO PLEASE, COME TASTE THESE CRANBERRY CREAM CHEESE BARS! THAT'S HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT THEM! THEY MAY OR MAY NOT BE A COPYCAT RECIPE FROM A LARGE COFFEE CHAIN. . . BUT I SWEAR THESE ARE EVEN BETTER!

I scoured the internet for a decent Cranberry Cream Cheese bars recipe, with little success. They were either too cake like, lacked flavor, or just didn't taste like the real thing. I knew there could be better out there. So I began experimenting.

THE KEY SECRET MOST OTHER RECIPES ARE MISSINGAfter researching and testing I found the secret! You need to use three eggs, but two of them with yokes only, no whites. And for some reason, that combo takes these bars to a level near perfect. They are a dense, flavorful, little triangle from heaven.

These aren't super sweet, I don't like them that way. I want the amazing flavors of the ginger, cranberry, and orange to shine through, and to do that you can't have them doused with too much sugar. It's a balancing act. But worry not friends, I cracked the code. ;)Several recipes I looked through called for candied ginger. However, after giving it a try, the lackluster flavor made me realize you need to use fresh ginger to get the zing this recipe requires. I also decided to use a high-quality white chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips for the dough and to be sprinkled on top, saving the white chocolate chips to melt for the drizzle. Another trick I learned was to dice the dried cranberries so they distribute more evenly though-out the bar. It give for better texture and flavor than getting a huge mouthful of only cranberry.

Don't let the sticky dough scare you, this is how it's suppose to be. Scrape the contents out onto a parchment lined 9x13 pan and flatten using a piece of parchment paper that has been buttered so it won't stick.

At this point I could smell all the ginger goodness and cranberry tartness and white chocolate smoothness and I knew, I just knew this was the winning recipe combo. I could sense it. Call it a bakers intuition. ;)*Note: Make sure to cook these in a metal pan, not glass. The bars tend to cook too hot in a glass baking dish and don't result in as dense of bars.

And as it cooked I peaked, and checked, and poked, and waited, when I pulled it out. . . . it was perfect friends. Like a little Christmas Day miracle. I trimmed off the browned sides to make perfect edges that beckoned to be frosted. As for the frosting, wait until the bar is cool completely or the cream cheese will melt and fall right off your bars.

TEMPERAMENTAL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

If you've frosted with cream cheese then you know with certainty, cream cheese frosting can be a beast sometimes. Every now and again it just doesn't want to thicken, and you end up with frosting that although tastes amazing, won't set, pipe, and simply drips off whatever it's put on. A gooey stickie mess is what that's called. One thing I learned this go around is to frost using only the bricks of cream cheese. I used it from a large tub on attempt number one and it turned out horrible. What I researched and found out after the fact was that cream cheese in a tub has a higher water content because it's made to be spreadable. The brick is firmer and best for using for any kind of baking needs!Also, make sure the butter you use isn't melted, and isn't super cold. Melted and you are bound to have runny frosting. Cold and it won't mix well and you'll wind up with butter clumps in your frosting. That's also a no-go.Best to stick with room temperature butter, and chilled, brick cream cheese. I can almost guarantee the frosting will turn out spreadably delicious if you follow those rules.

CRANBERRY CREAM CHEESE BARS FINISHING TOUCHES

What are Cranberry Cream Cheese bars without the toppings? They'll still taste amazing, but be far less pretty. And isn't part of dessert how beautiful it is? You know I'm right. I also thought it was a fun touch to add some Decorative Sparkling Sugar to the top with the cranberries and white chocolate. It gave it a nice shimmer. I'll now be searching for excuses to put Decorative Sparkling Sugar on all of my baking. ;)

You can choose to dice up the cranberries for the topping, or use whole for an added wow factor. Use the remainder of the white chocolate bar for the topping, and then melt white chocolate chips to drizzle over the top.

That's it friends. You've just created a culinary masterpiece that will be enjoyed by family and friends. That's only if after eating a square you actually want to share with others.

These store best in the fridge, and I find them oddly delicious served cold. I can't wait for you to try these! Please make sure to five star this recipe and share how much you enjoyed the recipe! Also tag me over on Instagram so I can post your creations in IG stories!

Recipe details

  • 24  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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Ingredients

Cranberry bar

  • 1 & 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup)
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 2 Egg yokes
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries chopped
  • 3 ounces white chocolate bar chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Toppings

  • 2 ounces white chocolate bar
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries chopped
  • 2 Tbsp decorative sparkling sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips for chocolate drizzle

Instructions

Cranberry Bars

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar and butter.
Mix until creamy.
Add in whole egg, two egg yolks, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
Combine orange zest, ginger, and orange juice.
Slowly add in Bob's Redmill flour, salt, and baking powder.
Once well mixed, add chopped cranberries and white chocolate. Stir until combined.
Place dough in the center of parchment-lined pan, and taking a butter rubbed piece of parchment, place over the dough and push until flat and even in pan.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, checking often. These won't rise much and that's good. We want a dense, heavy bar. Look for the edges to start browning slightly to gauge when done. Let cool completely before frosting. If you place cream cheese frosting on a warm bar it will just melt and slide right off.

Cream Cheese Frosting

It's very important here to make sure to use the brick cream cheese, and not one out of a tub. The ones in tubs have a higher water content because they are made for spreading easily, and it will make your frosting not thicken properly.
Place butter in bowl and whip until all lumps are gone. If you skip this step your frosting will have butter chunks in it. Don't skip this step. ;)
Add in cold cream cheese and whip until light and fluffy.
Add in orange, ginger, and vanilla, stir.
Slowly sift in powdered sugar.
Frost bars and save extra for spooning out of the fridge in the middle of the night. Oh no . . . is that just me?

Finish with topping and white chocoalte drizzle

Sprinkle dried cranberries and white chocolate over frosted bars.
Take 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, and microwave for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Once melted, drizzle over frosting and let harden.
Cut up into squares, then half into triangles, and enjoy!

Eryn | Eryn Whalen Online
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Comments

  • Lucy Cruz Lucy Cruz on Nov 12, 2020

    Great. Will make this one to!!!!! I guess I will be very busy make cookies, brownies and good stuff this Christmas. Thanks

  • Lori D Lori D on Nov 12, 2020

    Going to make this!! Looks wonderful...

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