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Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar Recipe
Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Cookie/Brownie
Calories: 180
Cook Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.4 (58 reviews)
Each holiday season Starbucks brings out one of its most beloved dessert recipes: a soft triangle of white chocolate and cranberry cake covered with delicious creamy lemon frosting and dried cranberries. But when the holidays are over, the Bliss Bars go back into hiding until next season. that's when we bust out our home clone. The cake is flavored with bits of crystallized ginger that you can find in most markets near the herbs and spices. Be sure to finely mince the chunks of ginger before adding them, since ginger has a strong flavor, and you don't want anyone biting into whole chunk. For the white chocolate, one 4-ounce bar of Ghirardelli white chocolate will give you the perfect amount of chunks after you chop it up. If you can't find that brand, any brand of white chocolate will do, or you can use 4 ounces of white chocolate chips. This clone recipe will make a total of 16 cake bars, at a fraction of the cost of the original.

For a demonstration of this classic clone recipe, check out this new video.

Source: "Top Secret Recipes Unlocked" by Todd Wilbur.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

3. Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

5. Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

6. Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple 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.

Looove these
Janet Abramson  
Submitted on: 01/03/14
I make these every year for Christmas. I ran out of powdered sugar so I had to make the frosting with brown sugar. Its wonderful
Good Start
Submitted on: 12/30/13
My husband made this, following the recipe pretty much to the letter. The resulting bar is good, but not quite the same as the Starbucks version. The blondie is too thick and had more of a scone-like texture. The frosting should contain orange zest; I wasn't a fan of the lemon. Would make this again if we could figure out how to get the blondie part the right consistency.
Submitted on: 12/27/13
These were nothing like the Starbucks version. They were more cake like rather than the shortbread it should have been. Ended up throwing half of them away because no one liked them
Submitted on: 12/13/13
First off, as a Starbucks barista, there IS white chocolate in the cake so don't let previous reviews take that away. After years of eating these, I can say there has never been a time without them. There is a citrus note to the frosting and I would lean toward orange zest vs lemon juice as well. I will be making these in the next week and can give my review then but I had to clear up the WC issue. I'm excited about these!!
Submitted on: 12/12/13
This looks like a very close replica. To the person who says there is no white chocolate in the Starbucks recipe: there is. It's the white confectionary coating that is the third ingredient listed. White chocolate doesn't really exist (as opposed to chocolate which is made from cacao beans); there are no white cacao beans, it's a confectionary creation made of hardened oils, sugar and flavorings. It wouldn't be listed as white chocolate since that's not a real thing.
Great base, frosting overkill
Submitted on: 12/08/13
I think the base of the recipe was right on, but the frosting was waaaaay over the top sweet. Next time I would half the powdered sugar and continue to taste test it until it was the right level of sweet. Twenty girls and only 6 bars were consumed, most people said they were good but overly sweet.
false taste
Submitted on: 12/05/13
There is no white chocolate in the Starbucks bliss bars. You can look up the bliss bars go to Starbucks website, it has the nutritional facts and ingredients, white chocolate is no where to be found. Also, the topping is an orange drizzle, I do not see anything orange in your topping.
Submitted on: 12/05/13
Tasted great! Just needed molasses to taste a little closer...I also added orange zest, and replaced the lemon with orange at two TBS! So so good!
Submitted on: 12/03/13
This recipe is excellent! After making it and eating almost the whole pan to myself I can say they are delicious in every regard. I no longer want the bars from Starbucks-the ones I make from this recipe are fresher, thicker, and tastier! 5 stars!!
Susan Bond  
Submitted on: 11/16/13
Yesterday I bought a Starbucks Bliss Bar and deconstructed the ingredients. The recipe is 95% complete.....There is lemon or orange zest in the frosting that nicely marries with the cream cheese and cuts the sweetness.
Pretty Close
Submitted on: 11/12/13
These taste like the original Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars! Very tasty. My suggestion is to refrigerate for a few hours then take them out. Store in a air tight container.
Better than Starbucks!
Laurie Campbell  
Submitted on: 11/02/13
If you follow the directions to a T, these bars are even better than the ones at Starbuck's. They are a staple in our home every fall and everyone begs for the recipe. One of my absolute faves!
Doro Low  
Submitted on: 06/02/13
I've been making these for quite a while and I have always loved them. Best tip: keep them in the fridge for a while. They taste amazing! People literally beg me for the recipe. My cousin Sal especially. He's a vacuum. I would tell them to go on this site, but then they wouldn't be dependent on me anymore. ;)
The better twin
Stephanie Asbridge  
Submitted on: 12/02/12
These look exactly like the Starbucks version, and taste just like them..........only better! I've been making them for a few years now and EVERYONE loves them. I do use melted white chocolate instead of the shortening/powder sugar glaze. Bravo, Todd!
Delicious! Better than Starbucks.
Dawn W  
Submitted on: 03/21/12
These were so good. I don't understand the low ratings because I thought these tasted amazing and turned out exactly how I thought they would. I did take a few users' suggestions and added a bit of cinnamon and orange zest to the batter. I might drizzle melted white chocolate over top next time instead of the shortening/icing mix, but overall I have to say this was even better than the Starbucks version. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!
Susan Morton  
Submitted on: 01/08/12
I altered to make gluten free. Used gluten free flour blend and added one egg and 3/4 tsp xantham gum. The we're wonderful. Also good with dried blueberries.
Crystal Demouchet  
Submitted on: 01/04/12
These were okay..My family said they tasted good but to me, nothing like the starbucks version. These are dryer, thicker and more cake like. Starbucks is more of a bar/brownie like. Cranberries were good.
Barbara Seale  
Submitted on: 12/27/11
I tried this and it is delicious. My supervisor thought I bought them from Starbucks.
Happy Holidays! Bullseye!!
Submitted on: 12/12/11
I bought one at Starbucks on Friday and made them on Saturday. This is right on. The only thing that I would do differently is to bake only 20 min instead of 25. Also MAYBE add more powdered sugar to the frosting or a little eggwhite powder to firm it up after it sets up. The frosting at Starbucks was a little bit firmer. I did omit the shortening in the drizzle and added lemon extract for a more lemony taste that makes it just like the real thing. No lemon peel needed.
janet abramson  
Submitted on: 12/05/11
This has been a family favorite for the past two years. They are amazing!
Great stuff
Gene Ulm  
Submitted on: 12/03/11
I have been making this for two years. When I take them to Toastmaster's, they disappear. My wife takes these to work and they are gone. Needless to say, I have to tell people "Just take one, please" I have not tweeked the recipe. I use a larger pan (which will make the bars thinner) and I reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes or so. Great job.
New Holiday Favorite
Sissel Springer  
Submitted on: 11/24/11
These are amazing. Didn't have crystallized ginger so I substituted crushed ginger.
Better than the original!
Laurie Campbell  
Submitted on: 11/19/11
I'm making these bars for the 3rd time in two weeks and they are phenomenal!! Co-workers claim that mine are much better than Starbucks original bars, and I have to agree with them. I use white chocolate and orange zest in the drizzle and believe that it's a definite improvement this way.. Thanks Todd!
great recipe
Submitted on: 03/29/11
I've made this recipe at least 6 times now. Everyone always raves about it. I think it's better than Starbucks.
Ste Hitchen  
Submitted on: 01/21/11
I've never seen these in store here (UK) so can't compare to the original, but the 5 batches I've made all came out great. I add a tablespoon of orange rind to the both the cake batter and frosting for a little more zing. I also melt white chocolate in a bain-marie for the drizzle instead of the shortening/powdered sugar mixture. Chill for a while before cutting, or else it can quickly get messy! Definitely a favorite amongst friends and family.
poor subsitute
Submitted on: 12/23/10
The bars are nothing like Starbucks. They're dry and the Craisins sank to the bottom. I think they're missing buttermilk or some other liquid.
Catherine O'Neill  
Submitted on: 12/05/10
Wow, these are a pretty damn good taste-a-like. I was skeptical, so I actually bought one from Starbucks and alternated bites from each one. There's a little warmness and depth missing. It might be cinnamon.
Submitted on: 04/14/10
GREAT! I add lemon zest to the frosting and wow. My friends down at Starbucks like this one better than the one they get in. A++++ any time of the year!
Submitted on: 11/29/09
Turned out so good. Tried the regular bliss bar to see the difference and like this one better. The star bucks one falls apart way too easily. Delicious!
Jennifer from Ojai, Ca  
Submitted on: 10/17/09
Great Recipe! I left out the salt on accident, but they tasted great! They were also beautiful.
Submitted on: 12/23/08
I have been making this at home for 2 years now....I use a touch of cinnamon, and some orange peel, grated the cookie batter ...3 days ago I bought the cranberry bliss at the starbucks, and yuck it tasted like plastic and salty....I am so glad I ,make mine from home...also I double the frosting we all love lots of creamcheese frosting.......
Submitted on: 11/02/08
I made 2 adjustments to the recipe. I used a pinch of ginger instead of the crystallized ginger and for the drizzle topping I used butter instead of the vegetable shortning. These were FANTASTIC! Much better than the $2.35 bar that you get at the Bucks! One of my dinner guests (a Starbucks Manager) thought they were better!
Submitted on: 04/24/08
The frosting should have orange zest not lemon juice. Also the drizzle is white chocolate not vegetable shortening with all that sugar!
Submitted on: 02/21/08
Thanks for the great recipe! I have made my own version and have reduced the calories (since I am on Weight Watchers). Use Krustee's Fat Free Cranberry Orange muffin mix and I use 1/2 cup orange juce and 1/2 cup of water (instead of 1 cup water). I also use fresh cranberries on top and do use some orange zest in the icing (using Fat Free cream cheese)
Submitted on: 01/09/08
I made this for DH & he loved it. I recently had the Starbucks version & tasted orange vest in the frosting, which I will add next time I make them.
Kathy H  
Submitted on: 01/02/08
WOW...The best holiday sweet we had ...and yes it's as great as the original....But afforable for the whole neighborhood...I made several batches and passed out cookie platters to th neighbors. THNAK YOU FOR ANOTHER GREAT RECIPE
Submitted on: 12/24/07
I have never had the Starbucks version either, but these bars are festive looking with the white frosting and red cranberry bits on top and inside. They are yummy too. I left off the second layer of frosting. One layer was sweet enough.
Submitted on: 12/20/07
I have never had the official Starbucks bars but can't see how their bars could be any better than the bars I made from this recipe. They were a big hit (and very festive looking) for a recent Christmas party.
Submitted on: 12/10/07
Utterly fabulous! Just like the original. Everyone at work loved them!
Submitted on: 12/20/06
Have been making these since I purchased your book about 2 yrs. ago, but finally went and bought the above at our neighborhood Starbucks and what a surprise. Mine are even better. Thank you and I am now looking to purchase more of your books.
Submitted on: 01/02/06
I made it with two eggs and 1 tbsp of molasses and was told it is better than Starbucks. I also make a lemon cream cheese frosting without all the added white chocolate/cranberries etc. on the top or in the cake.
Submitted on: 12/27/05
Way too sweet! My kids wouldn't even touch more than one. I still love your site, though!
Submitted on: 12/26/05
The icing is too sweet and I love sweet. I served them and no one could eat more than a bite.
Submitted on: 11/29/05
This recipe is fantastic!!! Thanks for this wonderful addition to my families favorite recipes. Soooo good!
Cranberry Bliss HOUND  
Submitted on: 10/17/05
I always knew there was something else in these bars, I didn't realize it was crystallized ginger! Thanks for figuring that out, now it really tastes perfect. Can't wait to share these at the holidays! I also wonder if there isn't a hint of rosemary in the Starbucks version, something a little different in there. But this is tops, thanks!
Submitted on: 07/21/05
I've made the recipe a few times and it has always turned out great! I'm looking forward to making the "New & Improved" batch. Love the web-sit, really cool that when you print a recipe you can choose the size (3x5) that it prints on. Great job and I look forward to my weekly recipe emails from ya. Plus, I love the cookbooks, you have a great sense of humor with food.
Sharon Rucker  
Submitted on: 07/21/05
This is Excellent and my family and friends loved it... Took it to a church pot luck and had RAVE reviews..Great Great Great FIve Star.... Keep up the good work...
Submitted on: 07/20/05
I love to bake and don't often find store-bought baked goods that I actually like. The exception wass the Starbucks Cranberry Bliss bars ... which after tasting I craved. I was thrilled to have this clone recipe and have made it several times .... love it! Took it to work on a treat day one time and everyone raved about it. Thanks!
Submitted on: 07/20/05
this recipe was very good. i was actually very surprised about the great taste in flavor.
Submitted on: 07/20/05
great recipe you guys are the best!!!!
Submitted on: 07/20/05
This is the best recipe yet. I am a major fan of cranberries and it's great to be able to make and have these any time of year. A cranberry, white grape juice and seltzer water drink go great with it.
Submitted on: 07/20/05
I have made these and they are the BEST.............thanks TSR for all the great recipes and the new website!!
Sharon Harmon, Baker  
Submitted on: 07/20/05
This is truly a wonderful pastry. TSR, Todd has captured this one to a T!
Vegas Girl  
Submitted on: 07/20/05
I made this recipe and took it to work - everyone wanted to know where I found these in the middle of summer! I admit it, I gave TSR all the credit, and gave rave reviews and the URL to anyone who would listen. Keep up the good work, you guys are the BEST!
Submitted on: 07/20/05
this is so close to the starbucks bar! it is absolutely delicious! my mouth is watering just thinking about it. these also freeze well, so you can make a batch and have a stash in the freezer for when you need just that holiday cool treat! yum! yum!
Submitted on: 07/19/05
Marie Campbell  
Submitted on: 07/19/05
I have made the original recipe posted at Christmas and it is awesome! Have had rave reviews from everyone that has tasted the bars. Can't wait to try the new and improved version.
Submitted on: 07/18/05
this is THE BEST!! I have had raves about it.