Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cranberry Bliss (Bars)

There is a definite nostalgia about holiday foods. They usually represent our ethnic heritage, cultural surroundings, and just plain old tradition. We have many such traditions. My family always has this ham on Christmas. We always have au gratin potatoes. Whether they come from a box, or they are these ones, or these ones, they are always there. We have croissants (not homemade) and corn. We used to eat popcorn and hot chocolate while we opened presents, but now the adults want something more substantial.
A breakfast casserole that my mom discovered has been present the last few years, but I think we are moving away from that and on to something that takes less effort. Nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen on Christmas morning. Well, maybe I do. But nobody wants to wait for it. This year I think I am going to make a Christmas punch (if I can convince someone to buy me a vintage punch bowl).
This recipe is for a new favorite, one that I hope will find its way to your list of seasonal favorite.

For the bar:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 a cup)

For the frosting:

6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick of butter), softened
grated zest of one orange, finely chopped
2 cups powdered sugar
3 oz (about 1/4 cup) white chocolate, melted (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.
Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To melt white chocolate in the microwave: place white chocolate chunks into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave in 10 second increments, stirring thoroughly each time until the chocolate is smooth.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this delicious recipe! I love trying 'copy-cat' recipes, and this one is truly amazing! Thanks again for sharing!


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