Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars

A blondie cookie bar with chunks of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, topped with sweet cream cheese icing, tart dried cranberries and white chocolate drizzle  – perfect for the holidays!

I got a request this year to lighten Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Bars – this make-over turned out excellent! I was able to cut the fat and calories by more than HALF, yet they still taste indulgent. The original bar is 340 calories with 19 grams of fat; this lighter version is just 149 calories with 5 grams of fat.

Last year I attempted to make these light but didn’t have much success. I had used whole wheat flour and I believe that was my demise – it gave the bars an unpleasant texture and scent that I really didn’t enjoy.

This time I used Gold Medal all purpose flour and the results were excellent. This is dessert after all, and although I try to use whole grains in all my meals, it doesn’t always work when baking. If you need a dessert for a holiday party, these are great. Leave them refrigerated until ready to serve.

More than HALF the calories and fat than the Starbuck's original.

Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars

A blondie cookie bar with chunks of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, topped with sweet cream cheese icing, tart dried cranberries and white chocolate drizzle  – perfect for the holidays!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
For the Frosting:
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces white baking chocolate, melted*
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch non-stick baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the sugars with the butter, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out.
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup cranberries. Spread batter onto the baking pan using the back of a measuring cup to smooth evenly.
  6. Bake 10 - 14 minutes, until the edges are light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't over-bake or your bars will be dry. Let it cool completely on wire rack.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting; in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Frost bars and sprinkle with remaining cranberries. Drizzle with the melted white chocolate.
  8. *To melt the chocolate, place in a microwave safe cup and heat 15 seconds; stir. Another 15 seconds; stir until the chocolate is melted.
  9. When the chocolate sets, cut into 15 large squares (5 cuts by 3 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally to create triangles. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 30 servings, Serving Size: 1 bar

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Smart Points: 7
  • Points +: 4
  • Calories: 149
  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 47mg
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 17g
  • Protein: 2g

 

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Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars