my dad *LOVES* starbuck’s cranberry bliss bars. i think he looks forward to the colder winter months just because he knows he can only buy these special treats seasonally. people love these things! (i’m convinced they put crack in them..) i’ve eaten one before, a few years back. i really enjoyed it, i remember exactly what it tastes like, and i can appreciate the flavors that make it desirable. -of course, we all know about my deeply rooted disapproval of buying mass-produced “pastry” and baked “goods” (i used the quotations to implicate my snobbery). i find no unique quality to things that come from a box, no “personal touch”, nothing special, no variety, which is the spice of life. -i find these things very important when indulging in something decadent. the way i see it, if you’re gonna eat something indulgent, make it something special.
since my quest for cracking all grain-laiden baked goods continues with full force, it only took me a few days to wrap my head around how to do this. -how would i make a grain free version of this cranberry bliss bar i keep hearing so much about?, -this seasonal treat that seems so special to my dad… i made these for his birthday, and gave them to him last weekend. i could tell that they were addictive because half the batch disappeared after the first few hours they were given to him. they are not a replica of the bliss bar, just inspired by them. yes, these are a much healthier version. about 250 cals and 5 gm protein per bar, loaded with good fats from the almonds, and using no refined sugars.. -much, much, much healthier, but that is not the point here.
the point is this:
these are delicious. they are a slightly stickier, cake-like version of the bliss bar. -the bliss bar is sort of cookie like in comparison. studded with cranberries and candied ginger, they are not unlike gingerbread. i made the cake base with almond butter instead of a wheat based shortbread. as they came out of the oven, i could not resist the warm crumbs that broke away from the sides of the pan when i was slicing them. -brian and i happily snatched up the cribbly bits that stuck to the knife. make these with caution: you will eat all of them before they even make it to the frosting stage. i am very pleased with the way they turned out. again, i wasn’t looking for a replica here. just a unique version, with my own personal touch, something special for my dad.
since i wouldn’t want to impose on starbucks appropriately naming theirs the “cranberry bliss bar”, i’ve cleverly named my bars similarly, but slightly misspelled. see how i did that? see? aren’t i clever?
makes roughly 20 bars
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 16oz. jar almond butter*
1 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
for the frosting & topping:
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
zest half of a lemon
white chocolate chips (optional)
method for bars:
preheat oven to 325f. grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pyrex baking dish.
whisk together baking soda, salt, ginger, and set aside. separately, mix together almond butter, vanilla, eggs, & honey. combine these 2 mixtures. stir in cranberries and ginger. do not over mix.
pour into baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes. remove from oven, and cool in pan for at least an hour (several hours would be ideal, if you can stand to wait) before carefully cutting into squares and triangels -i sliced mine diagonally and every which way but loose.
method for frosting & topping:
whip honey, cream cheese, and vanilla until it’s well combined and kinda fluffy.
spread over bars. sprinkle cranberries, zest, and white chocolate chips over the tops of the bars.
these can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so, and on the counter top for a matter of hours before they get eaten up!
*if you want your bars a little lighter-colored, use raw (non-roasted) almond butter.