Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blissed Out

This recipe is a "cover" of Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars, and I think it's actually better. There's more cake and less frosting (making them not so excessively sweet), and both the cake and frosting layers are lighter. The orange-flavored cranberries are the perfect crowning touch, plus I added cardamom and a little excellent Penzey's Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, making the cake layer far more interesting.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cake Layer
2 sticks softened butter
1 and 1/4 c. brown sugar

3 eggs
1/2 t. finely ground cardamom
1/4 t. Penzey's Cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 c. flour

1/2 T. dried orange peel (or fresh zest from one orange)
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. coarsely chopped Ghirardelli white chocolate

Frosting Layer
2 T. softened butter

4 oz. softened Nuefchatel (light) cream cheese
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

To Finish
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. melted Ghiradelli white chocolate chips mixed with 1 t. cream

Bake in 350-degree F oven in greased 9x13 pan. Beat butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla beat until light and fluffy. Add all dry ingredients (except crans and choc) and beat well. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate, spread evenly in pan and bake about 25 mins or until golden. Cool cake completely, then spread with frosting, sprinkle with crans, drizzle with melted chocolate (use a plastic Ziploc with corner snipped off or a pastry bag), cut and serve!

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