An easy homemade copycat recipe for the classic seasonal Starbucks treat! Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bars that are allergy-free, perfectly baked blondie cake squares, loaded with dried cranberries, vanilla, citrus, and dairy-free white chocolate drizzle!
Caveat, no, I’ve never had a Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar and initially, I had zero intention of these cranberry bliss “squares” to even be a copycat recipe. Alas, when all was said and done, that’s what came out of the Strength and Sunshine oven. Cranberry and white chocolate is such an iconic holiday combo; the perfect tart and sweet balance and just begging to be included on the holiday dessert table in some form or another!
What’s in a cranberry bliss bar?
A delicious sweet and tart combination of dried cranberries (craisins), vanilla, a touch of orange citrus, a buttery “blondie” cake, and white chocolate drizzle. The Starbucks version is descried as, “a blondie cake base topped with sweet cream cheese icing, tart dried cranberries and white orange drizzle“. My gluten-free, vegan, allergy-free bars nix the cream cheese icing and just use melted dairy-free/soy-free white chocolate as icing instead. Otherwise, the flavors are the same and the ingredients are just much more…friendly and free-from!
Cranberry bliss BARS or SQUARES?
As I said, I had no intention (initially) of making a copycat recipe. So instead of having this recipe require you to bake a whole pan of blondies and then cut them into intricate triangle-shaped bars like the Starbucks version, I actually have a much easier, simpler, no fuss, no-cut method! I actually used (for the first time) this square, “brownie bar” pan that I snagged at a garage sale a few months ago for $2! It was brand new, pristine, and just begging for me to take home! You know how much I love collecting ALL the kitchen appliances and gadgets; so when I find a pan that would normally be $$$ but was only $2, well, can you blame me?
Are these bars/squares a dessert or snack?
I assume Starbucks wants you to think they’re a nice sweet snack to have with your sugar laden coffee dessert in a cup. Really, you’d just be consuming 2 desserts in one fell swoop. In one cranberry bliss bar at Starbucks you get a whopping 26g of sugar, 37g of carbs, 15g Fat (9g saturated), for a total of 300 calories. With my perfectly portioned, no-so-sinful cranberry bliss bars, you really can have them as a snack with your afternoon coffee or tea OR as a nice sweet dessert at the end of a holiday gathering. You know that we’re using Swerve as our sweetener so that slashes the sugar and carb count drastically!
What type of dairy-free/soy-free vegan white chocolate is best to use?
Ah, the elusive SOY-FREE vegan white chocolate that is so hard to find. Or shall I say, “was”, hard to find! I used my favorite “Milkless Polar Dream White Chocolate Bars” from No Whey! Foods, but you can also use Pascha’s white chocolate baking chips or their white chocolate bar. Whichever you can easily get your hands on! I prefer the taste of the Polar Dream bars, but the Pascha baking chips are easier to “measure out”. However, can you really have too much drizzle?
Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bars (Squares!)
- 2 Cups Gluten-Free Baking Flour
- ¾ Cup Erythritol (or preferred granulated sweetener)
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Stick MELT Vegan Butter (softened)
- 1½ Cups Dried Cranberries
- ¾ Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
- 1 Tsp Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract
- ½ Tsp Pure Orange Extract
- 1 Cup Vegan/Allergy-Free White Chocolate (to melt)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and sweetener first. Mix together.
- Now add the softened butter, cranberries, milk, and extracts. Mix the batter together until combined.
- In an greased individual "brownie square" baking pan, use the batter to fill 9 of the cavities*.
- Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Do make the white chocolate drizzle, melt the, broken in pieces, white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, in increments of 15-20 seconds until you can easily mix the melted chocolate.
- Add the melted chocolate to a pastry bag or decorating gun with a fine tip and drizzle the bars in a zigzag motion with the melted chocolate.
I wouldn’t call these healthy, but I would call the “healthier” than your favorite seasonal Starbucks treat! Gluten-Free Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bars (or squares) for everyone! Top allergy-free and with a much, much shorter ingredient list! Plus they’re a fun dessert to bake up during the holidays when you need a change from all the CHOCOLATE baking that typically occurs…right? Because we all know that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate, eh?
So tell me:
+ What’s (or was) your favorite seasonal Starbucks treat? Not seasonal, but their banana chocolate chip bread was my mom’s and I’s favorite indulgence!
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