Cranberry Bliss Bars {Skinny}

DSCN9426“Wonderful!”

Whenever I try a new recipe, I make notes on it about the results and any changes or issues that came up. Some recipes get a “good” or “ok” or “flop” or “very good,” but these received the highest rating I give, “Wonderful!” Almost everyone who has ever tried these bars has concurred with that assessment.

edgesI cannot take the credit. The original recipe comes from Skinnytaste, which is the home to many great recipes. Skinnytaste is a website that offers Weight Watchers friendly recipes. The author provides nutrition information for every recipe as well as the Weight Watchers points. Most of these recipes do not taste “skinny.” They are delicious, nutritious, and often beautiful.

These cranberry bars are a perfect example and do not taste “skinny” in the least. The bars are made “skinny” with egg whites, applesauce, light cream cheese, and only a small amount of butter, but they taste out of this world delicious and decadent. The base is a wonderful white chocolate chip cookie and the top is beautiful with cream cheese frosting, chopped cranberries, and a white chocolate drizzle. The red and white is so pretty for Christmastime. The tart cranberries pair wonderfully with the sweet white chocolate.

Apparently, there is some sort of coffee place called Starbucks, I think, that sells a bar like this. I know this will be incomprehensible to many of you, but I don’t like coffee, so I have never had their bar, but many have told me that this bar is similar or even better than their bar. And it does not cost $4 for a piece.

I cannot tell you if this bar is better than or similar to the coffee shop bar, but I can tell you that this bar is…

“Wonderful!”

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Cranberry Bliss Bars {Skinny}

Ingredients:

For the bars:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (scant) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, softened (you can also use regular if you are not concerned about the fat)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces white chocolate chips or baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • a pinch of orange zest (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch non-stick baking pan with cooking spray or line a pan with parchment paper and set aside. (I like to use parchment, so I can lift the whole pan of bars out of the pan for easier and neater cutting.)
  2. In a small to medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and stir to blend. Set aside.
  3. In a medium to large bowl, whisk the sugars with the butter, egg whites, applesauce, and vanilla until light and fluffy. (Tip: I recommend using a heat-proof bowl in which you can melt your butter and then add the other ingredients. On more than one occasion, I have melted the butter in a small bowl in the microwave and then forgotten about it until much later in the process when I wonder why my dough is so sticky. FYI: Adding the butter a little later has not harmed the bars in any way. Oops.)
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. (Skinnytaste suggests that if your dough is dry and crumbly at this point to add water one drop at a time to smooth it out. I have never had this issue.)
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup cranberries. Press batter evenly into the baking pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until just beginning to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely. (Tip: Once the base has cooled, I have wrapped it and frozen it for a future event and then took it out when needed to thaw and frost. This is great if you need to make in advance.)baked
  7. Prepare the frosting. Use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon, and orange zest (if desired) and beat until smooth and well-blended.
  8. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the bar base. Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped cranberries over the top. Melt the white chocolate in short increments in the microwave and then put in a small zip top plastic bag with a corner snipped or in a squeeze bottle or piping bag. Drizzle white chocolate over the top of the bars. Set aside or refrigerate to set the chocolate. Cut into squares or triangles to serve.
  9. Keep leftovers refrigerated. cutting

Source: Adapted slightly from Skinnytaste.

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