Skinnified Sunday: Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

It’s the mooooost wonderful time of the year!

Okay, so the truth is I’ve been listening to 99.9 since the day after Thanksgiving when they first started playing Christmas music, and I made these babies long before Thanksgiving.

I just can’t even contain my excitement! When Target put up the first few holiday items back in October, everyone else scoffed while I got secretly giddy.

I am a sucker for the holiday season and I have no shame. The lights, the shopping for presents, the music, and of course, the amazing holiday flavors.

I swear, every time I step into Starbucks it’s like an exercise in self control. Between the salted caramel hot chocolate (my favorite), those freaking snow man cookies (I just love those guys!) and of course the cranberry bliss bars–a white chocolate chip blondie topped with cream cheese frosting and sweet dried cranberries? I diiiiiie.

White chocolate and cranberry go together like peanut butter and jelly. No, like peanut butter and chocolate! For a long time I thought I hated cranberries. BIG MISTAKE!

I made these delicious bars last year and they were a huge hit, but the pictures were, um….

Yeah….suffice it to say, they didn’t do the food justice ;) These are absolute perfection–the perfectly soft gooey blondie filled with while chocolate chips and the smooth and creamy white chocolate cream cheese frosting topped with the sweet and tart dried cranberries. Heaven.

I adapted this recipe from Recipe Girl’s Cranberry Bliss Bars.

My swaps:

  • Half recipe
  • Pumpkin puree or apple butter for butter (-fat, -saturate fat, -calories)
  • Egg substitute for eggs (-fat, -calories, -cholesterol)
  • Less brown sugar (-sugar, -calories)
  • White whole wheat flour for regular (+fiber, +protein)
  • Reduced fat cream cheese for regular (-fat, -calories)
  • Less white chocolate (-fat, -calories, -sugar)

 Skinnified Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

yield 16 small bars or 8 large

Skinnified Cranberry Bliss Bars

For the blondie:

  • 6 tbs pumpkin puree or apple butter (I’ve tried both and they both work really well)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • dash salt
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2.  In a large bowl, combine pumpkin/apple butter, and brown sugar using a hand mixer.  Add egg substitute and vanilla.
  3.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  4.  Add dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix until incorporated. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate.
  5.  Bake for 18-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, cool completely.
  6.  Using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar. Add in melted white chocolate. Spread cream cheese frosting across cooled bars and top with cranberries.