Did you all experience the Cranberry Bliss Bar bonanza over the holiday season? I can’t say I’ve ever had the original Starbucks version, but I did have several delicious homemade versions over the course of the Christmas season. As much as I love the convenience of bars, I always feel like I’m taking in way more calories eating a bar over a cookie. I am well aware that this is ridiculous and untrue, especially since I would eat, for example, one chocolate chip square, but at least 3 chocolate chip cookies. I’m good with portion control like that.
Side note: See that wood bowl in the background? My dad makes bowls now! (Don’t worry, he’s not giving up preaching yet, as far as I know). I just love them all, and had to steal as many as I could fit in my suitcase last time we were in his neighbourhood.
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming, and another pretty bowl, this one from my mother-in-law. Isn’t it great when you have enablers in your life who support your strange hobbies?
You may have noticed that I love cookies, a lot. So obviously the cranberry bliss bar had to be done in cookie form. Rarely does a day go by without a good cookie in my life, so I’m always looking for new favourites to add to my repertoire. As with most good ideas, Google quickly made me aware that this was not a new idea, and since Ali at Gimme Some Oven has so many amazing recipes, I knew her variation of this Bliss Bar Cookie idea was the perfect place to start. Someday I will just refrain from Googling my recipe ideas and assume I am the first person to think of something and carry on in blissful oblivion, but today will not be that day. But it will be blissful in other ways!
These cookies are every bit as delicious as their Cranberry Bliss Bar cousin, and slightly less sweet. Here we have a soft vanilla-brown sugar based cookie studded with cranberries and white chocolate chips, topped with a white chocolate cream cheese icing. I tend to find white chocolate cloyingly sweet, but in this recipe it is well balanced with the tang of cream cheese and the tartness of cranberries. I also refrained from adding additional white chocolate drizzle a la the bar version, but if you love white chocolate it does add an extra touch of authenticity.
Either way, this recipe makes about 48 cookies, and I’ve made and gone through 2 full batches in the past 3 weeks (with sharing, I swear). They freeze really well – just thaw them in the fridge and then keep them in the fridge due to the cream cheese in the icing. They taste great straight out of the fridge and even better if you let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes – soft, icing-ed, cookie bliss.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- 1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar & icing sugar)
- 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave (optional)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Beat until well-combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips and cranberries.
- Place dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes. (You can leave it longer if you want – 10 minutes is about my patience max :))
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.
- Place dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden only around the edges. Remove pan, let sit 1 minute, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (*See note). Add in the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated, adding more powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries.
- Use a fork to drizzle on melted white chocolate if desired, dipping the fork in the chocolate and swishing it back and forth over the cookies.