This Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe tastes just like the popular seasonal treat at Starbucks with a blondie bar base, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, a hint of orange, and cream cheese frosting.
Tart cranberry and sweet white chocolate is a festive flavor pairing made in heaven. Add bright orange flavor and decadent cream cheese frosting, and it’s even better!
Loved by so many people, this iconic Starbucks holiday treat is easy to make at home. We start with a vanilla-laced, brown sugar-sweetened blondie bar base and add the classics: dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, and orange zest.
Gorgeous swirls of cream cheese frosting, a drizzle of white chocolate, and dried cranberries top it off. And if you’re feeling a little holiday bling, you can sprinkle some coarse white sparkling sugar on top.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Spot-on flavor. Rich, buttery brown sugar-sweetened bars that are laced with vanilla and orange, and studded with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. These cookie bars are just like the ones at Starbucks!
- Great texture. These cookie bars are chewy and moist, and not at all cakey.
- Save money. Instead of buying these at Starbucks, make them at home for a fraction of the price!
Easy Copycat Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars Recipe
If you’ve made any type of blondies before, you already know the method to make these beautiful seasonal bar cookies. It couldn’t be easier!
- Unsalted butter – adds richness and helps make these bars chewy and moist
- Light brown sugar – for sweetness with caramel-like molasses notes; this also helps with the moist and chewy factor of these cookie bars
- Egg – acts as a binder and gives structure
- Pure vanilla extract – for flavor and aroma
- Fresh orange zest – adds lovely citrus flavor and scent
- All-purpose flour – the base for our dough
- Salt – enhances the flavor of baked goods
- White chocolate chips – for sweet bursts of flavor
- Craisins – these are sweetened dried cranberries; look for them near the raisins at the grocery store
- Cream cheese – adds richness and body to our frosting; for best flavor and texture, use full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- Powdered sugar – to sweeten and stiffen our frosting; for smoothest texture, sift your powdered sugar first
- Heavy whipping cream or milk – for creamy texture
- White chocolate chips – this is about 2 tablespoons
- Coconut oil – to melt with the white chocolate chips to get the right consistency (or you can omit this and use white almond bark instead of white chocolate chips)
- Craisins – dried sweetened cranberries
- Coarse white sparkling sugar – this is completely optional and just adds a little sparkle to the top
Step by Step Instructions
How to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars
- Whisk together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and orange zest.
- Stir in the flour and salt.
- Mix in the white chocolate chips and craisins.
- Transfer the batter to a lined baking pan and spread it out evenly.
- Bake until the bar cookies are golden along the outside, but still look a little gooey in the middle, about 20 to 23 minutes at 350F, being careful not to over-bake. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
How to Frost and Decorate Cranberry Bliss Bars
- Once the bars are cooled, make the frosting. Add all frosting ingredients to a large bowl.
- Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together until smooth.
- Spread the frosting evenly on the cooled bars.
- For the topping, add the white chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments until melted and smooth, stirring in between each increment. Drizzle this mixture onto the frosted bars. Immediately sprinkle on the craisins and the sparkling sugar if using.
Once the frosting is set, store these bars layered between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Melt the butter. One of the things I love about this recipe is that you don’t have to remember to pull out the butter to let it sit at room temperature for an hour before you can make this Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe. Just melt the butter!
- Line the baking pan. This is so you can easily lift out the cookie bars later.
- You have options for the white chocolate drizzle on top. You can either use white chocolate chips and coconut oil or chopped white almond bark.
- Cut these bars like a pro. It’s easy to cut them into triangles, just like at Starbucks!
What is in a Cranberry Bliss Bar From Starbucks?
According to the Starbucks website it is: “A blondie cake with dried cranberries – finished with a layer of cream cheese icing flecked with orange zest and a sprinkle of dried cranberries.”
Are Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars Seasonal?
Yes. These blondie bars return to Starbucks along with the festive holiday drinks each year.
But you can make a homemade batch anytime you want!
Do You Have to Refrigerate Cranberry Bliss Bars?
Yes. Because of the cream cheese frosting, you should store these bars in the fridge.
More Cookie Bars to Make
- Brown Butter Blondies with Toasted Pecans – these are inspired by the Harry Potter drink Butterbeer
- Ballpark Blondies – with brown butter, salted peanuts, caramel corn, and two kinds of chocolate chips
- Funfetti Blondies – these taste like birthday cake batter!
- Salted Brown Butter Blondies – a classic for a reason, these are rich and chewy with a perfectly balanced flavor profile
Cranberry Bliss Bars Recipe
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream or milk
For the Bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over all 4 sides.
- Whisk together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Stir in the flour and salt, and then stir in the white chocolate chips and craisins.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread it out evenly. Bake until the bar cookies are golden along the outside, but still look a little gooey in the middle, about 20 to 23 minutes, being careful not to over-bake.
- Cool to room temperature before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- Once the bars are cooled, make the frosting.
- Add all frosting ingredients to a large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to beat together until smooth.
- Spread the frosting evenly on the cooled bars.
- For the topping, add the white chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments until melted and smooth, stirring in between each increment. Drizzle this mixture onto the frosted bars.
- Immediately sprinkle on the craisins and the sparkling sugar if using.
- Let the frosting set before cutting and serving.
- Storage: Once the frosting is set, store these bars layered between pieces of parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Topping: Instead of the white chocolate chips and coconut oil, you can use 1 ounce of chopped white almond bark.
- Serving Size: These bars are very rich and decadent! If you want, you can cut each triangle in half to get 16 servings instead of 8.