A hearty oat cookie bar base, packed with cranberries and white chocolate chips, spread with a thick layer of white chocolate cream cheese frosting, and topped off with more cranberries and a white chocolate drizzle.
Frosted cranberry white chocolate cookie bars taste like home. My mom, whose cookie prowess I’ve mentioned before, makes a cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookie that’s to die for. Like, good enough to convert cranberry and white chocolate hating people like J. Seriously, her cookies have powers.
So I texted her a couple weeks ago and asked if I could blog that recipe. She didn’t hesitate to send it to me, but the wheels in my head were already turning. My mother-in-law, a darn good cook, too, had mentioned her affection for Starbucks’ cranberry bliss bars. I checked them out and the basic idea reminded me of my mom’s cookies.
So I decided to combine the two. To make my mom’s cookies a little more holiday-friendly, I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. I baked them in bar form, as much to save time as to mimic the coffeehouse kind. And then I smothered the whole thing in a decadent white chocolate frosting.
I’ve got to confess that I’ve never had a cranberry bliss bar, but these bars are the definition of bliss (perfect happiness; great joy). Happiness is devouring a generous square of these frosted cranberry white chocolate cookie bars.
Frosted Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie Bars
For the Bars
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. cold water
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 bag white chocolate chips (about 1- 1 1/2 cups)
For the Frosting
1 c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 bag white chocolate chips
1/4 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together shortening and both sugars until creamy. Add vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and egg, and mix until combined. Add oats and water, stir thoroughly, and then add flour and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.
Transfer mixture to a 9×13 pan, either lined with parchment or coated with cooking spray. Bake for 29-33 minutes, or until bars are set on top and starting to brown. While bars are cooling, beat together cream cheese and butter for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and orange zest, mixing until combined.
Melt white chocolate, either in the microwave or over a double boiler. When chocolate is melted and smooth, add 3/4 to the frosting and mix to incorporate. Spread a generous layer of frosting over the bars. Sprinkle dried cranberries over the top and drizzle the remaining white chocolate over that. Allow chocolate to set for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Note: the chocolate will likely harden a little as it sits while you spread the frosting. If that happens, heat it again until it’s smooth. If the chocolate doesn’t seem to get thin enough to drizzle, you can add vegetable oil, half a teaspoon at a time, until it drips easily from the tines of a fork.
Do you love homemade versions of restaurant classics? Check out these copycat Red Lobster cheddar biscuits.
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