Cranberry Orange Bars aka Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

cranberry orange bars

BARS

1 cup unsalted butter ( 2 sticks, softened to room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup craisins ( dried cranberries)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

FROSTING

1/2 bar of cream cheese, softened about 4 oz
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract

TOPPING

1/3 cup craisins, chopped
1 -2 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon canola oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 for a glass or dark pan). Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with parchment paper or use a non-stick spray.
2. BARS: With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugars 3-5 minutes until light; gently blend in eggs and orange extract (don’t overbeat eggs). Add the flour, baking powder, and ginger and beat briefly. Add the cranberries and chips, stirring just until incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
3. Spread batter in prepared 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-27 minutes until light brown at edges and a toothpick tests clean. Don’t overbake or your bars will be dry. Let it cool completely.
4. FROSTING: Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add orange extract and confectioners sugar and beat until frosting is fluffy and spreadable (adding 1 t. milk if needed). Spread evenly over COOLED bars.
5. GARNISH: Use a zester to remove rind from an orange; sprinkle zest over frosted bars. Chop 1/3 cup Craisins coarsely; sprinkle over frosted bars.
6. DRIZZLE: Mix white chocolate and oil in a glass measuring cup. Microwave 1 minute; stirring every 15 seconds until melted. Use a fork or whisk to drizzle the white chocolate diagonally across the bars.
7. Allow one hour for the white chocolate to set before cutting. **I like to cut into little rectangles, but to make signature Starbucks look alike triangles, cut into 20 large squares (5 cuts by 4 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally to create triangles.

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