Darn you Starbucks! Making such a delicious holiday bar that's the perfect combination of sweet/tangy/spicy/tart. Mmmmmm. And they're SO BAD for you!
But they make a lovely treat to give away, and last a good while, well-wrapped, in the refigerator. So you can pre-bake treats for teachers, co-workers, and any other deserving folks.
Knock-Off Cranberry Bliss Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1/4 c diced candied ginger
4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
1/4 cup diced dried cranberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried cranberries, white chocolate, and candied ginger into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13" baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Allow cake to cool.
3. Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest and extracts in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over the top of the cake.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of diced cranberries over the frosting on the cake.
5. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and shortening. Drizzle icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion or use a pastry bag with a fine tip to drizzle frosting across the top of the cake.
6. Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.
Makes 16 bars.