Monday, February 13, 2012

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

I LOVE Valentine's Day! My mom always made Valentine's Day special growing up. We always had a special candle light dinner as a family with some of our favorite foods! So I always like to bake a lot of heart shaped goodies and pink stuff! This is the first heart shaped goodie I made this year! If you have ever had Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bars then you will love these! They taste just like it and are much easier to make than I ever expected!

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (slightly softened)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) white chocolate chips
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2- 2/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries, chopped
2 ounces white chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 (F) degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan then set aside (I also like to line the pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the two long sides- this allows the bars to be pulled out of the pan after baking for easier cutting). In a medium bowl add the flour, powdered ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set bowl aside.
 In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and mix well.  Gradually add the flour mixture and blend until combined. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.  Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.   Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Prepare frosting by beating the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and orange extract.  Beat about 1 minute until fully incorporated. Assemble dessert by spreading the frosting onto the baked and cooled bars. At this point you can take a heart shaped cookie cutter and press it into the bars. Remove heart shaped bars and place in a 9 x13. Sprinkle additional cranberries on top.  Drizzle melted white chocolate on top as desired. 

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