"OMG I just went to Starbucks and I bought a Cranberry Bliss Bar. They are so good but they are so expensive can you make them for me?!"
That was a frantic text that I received early one morning from my friend, Jennifer.
"LOL, of course... when?", I replied.
"Really?! You'll make them?! Oh man, now you're talkin' dirty to me!!"
That's Jennifer. When I talk food, it's "dirty" to her. She's a devoted follower of anything I make that remotely involves buttercream. That's why her and I work out together.
I was actually craving those bars myself that week, having seen a copy cat version of them on my local news station, which is why I found it pretty funny that Jennifer had text me that request early that morning.
While I didn't have the exact ingredients specified in this copy cat version, I knew I could make do with what I had on hand. Fresh ginger root on hand..? Yup. Did you know that a thin slice, slightly simmered in a cup of milk (with a touch of sugar), will calm a nauseous tummy? Now you know...
The recipe called for crystallized ginger, actually. But since I didn't have it, and to keep the texture in the recipe the same, I added some chopped citron (sprinkled with sugar to help with abrasiveness while chopping)
While these aren't exactly like the bars you may have had, I have to say they are pretty close. I love the addition of lemon in the cream cheese frosting, and the fresh ginger is a welcome change of pace from everything previously pumpkin.
adapted from Todd Wilbur as submitted to azfamily.com
3/4 c unsalted butter
1 c dark brown sugar
1 Tbs fresh grated ginger root
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used homemade)
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 c AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs citron, mixed and chopped with 1 tsp sugar
1/2 c white chocolate chips
3/4 c chopped Craisins
1/2 c soft cream cheese
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c chopped dried Craisins
4 Tbs white chocolate chips, melted
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the unsalted butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, fresh grated ginger, vanilla, and salt, beating well.
In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Gradually add into the butter mixture until creamy.
Mixing with wooden spoon, add the dried Craisins and citron. Pour batter evenly into a greased 13x9 inch pan (or larger if you prefer a thinner bar). Bake at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool.
For the frosting combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Spread frosting evenly over cooled baked bars.
Melt white chocolate chips and place in a pastry bag with fine tip, or use a small sandwich bag with corner cut off. Pipe white chocolate onto cream cheese frosting in a diamond shape pattern. Sprinkle with chopped Craisins. Bars are best eaten when slightly chilled, and can be frozen.