Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Skinny and Healthy Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

This is the time of year when the coffee store that sits on many a corner in just about every city in America and beyond, offers seasonal bakery items.  One of the most anticipated is the Cranberry Bliss Bar.  I could not imagine what the big deal was until I tried it.  It really IS delicious. Oh My Gosh!

Of course I believe that anything with a healthy dose of cream cheese is guaranteed to be delicious - right?  And this is no exception to my rule!  These are a "bit" healthier with whole wheat flour, sucanat instead of brown sugar, and egg whites and applesauce instead of oil or butter.

This is the second time I have made them but the first time with fresh white wheat flour. I definitely would do this again and it has already been requested by my daughter who will be visiting for a few days right before Christmas.  The "Mom please make" list is growing, but that's fine with me. I thoroughly enjoy baking, especially at this time of year.

I hope you enjoy this recipe - I chose the Sucanat because I am trying very hard to keep things healthier and as pure as possible, but you could substitute with Truvia Baking Blend or other Stevia based baking blends to reduce the calories and sugar.  I love having options!



Cranberry Bliss Bars (aka Starbucks special seasonal delight!)

adapted from Skinnytaste

Bars:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)*
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 c.  Sucanat (or light brown sugar, packed)
2/3 c. organic cane sugar or 1/3 c. Truvia Baking Blend
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3  cup dried cranberries, chopped
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
=================================

Frosting and Topping:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (low fat can be used)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (I used organic)
2 ounces white baking chocolate, melted (I used Ghirardelli's)
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

* you can use 2 c. all purpose flour (total) instead of 1 c. white and 1 c. wheat

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease  a 13x9" pan.

In a medium bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  

In a large bowl, whisk together the Sucanat, cane sugar, egg whites, applesauce, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture (in two additions) and blend well with a whisk.  Fold in the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  The batter will be thick.

Pour into the greased pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 10-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Do not overbake.  Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.


Oven ready....


Cooling.... waiting for the frosting...


For the frosting, beat the cream cheese (light is fine if you prefer), vanilla and the powdered sugar until fluffy.  Frost.

Sprinkle the chopped dried cranberries over the frosting and then drizzle the melted chocolate over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into bars.


Healthy decadence??





I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving and that the month of December is full of wonderful tine with family and friends.  I plan to share many more recipes and cards in the weeks to come.  Stay tuned!



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I am a mother to three and Grammy to two beautiful granddaughters and one very handsome little grandson.  Was born and raised in southern California and am happy to call it home.  I fill my days with volunteer work, paper crafting, needlework of all kinds and cooking and baking.   I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who fill my heart on a daily basis.