Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Little Bit of Christmas and The Best Dessert Ever

My paperback pumpkin recycled into a package.

12 year old boys can turn anything into a toy. Christmas Claws!!

A little Christmas beginning to show up!

And last but not least, something yummy!

Photo provided by:ohdearbarb's photostream Starbucks cranberry bliss bars

And now for the best part of this post. This is a recipe I found on a message board probably about six years ago. She found it in a Seattle Jr. League Cookbook. I don't remember what year, but what I do know is that Starbucks sells something almost identical and they are headquartered in Seattle. They are one of the most yummy sweets I have ever tasted. My hubby and I think they are better than Starbucks, though we may just be biased. They do have several steps and with my ADD I almost never tried them. I am afraid of lots of ingredients. Please give them a try! You will not be sorry!

Heavenly Cranberry Bliss Bars
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups white chocolate chips
1 ½ cups dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
¼ cup grated orange zest

White Chocolate Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons grated orange zest, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
6 ounces high quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350̊F. Lightly butter an 11- by 15-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended, then stir in the white chocolate chips, cranberries, pecans, and orange zest. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan (it will be quite stiff) and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 22 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, 1 tablespoon of the orange zest, and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the cooled base. Stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons orange zest with the dried cranberries in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the frosting. Melt the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Drizzle the white chocolate over the bars and let sit until the chocolate is set. Cut the bars into 3-inch squares and then diagonally into triangles.

Makes 48 bars.

The amount of orange zest is *not* a misprint. I use a microplane to do the zesting. It is amazing how quickly it goes with this tool.

Happy Cooking!


Amelia said...

The Christmas vignette is precious. I love the look on the snowman head.

That recipe sounds like it would be scrumptous to eat.

Sarah Kate said...

Good idea for the book thingy! It is on my to do list.

Carrie said...

your Christmas decorations is great! Good idea about the book!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

I am definitely going to pull out my ribbon and make the package with my folded book. My so thinks it is the neatest thing. I may try to find a shorter book to make a smaller package. I think we will have to be trying those cranberry bars. Jackie

Julianna said...

Thanks for sharing! I especially like the familiar looking hand that is now sporting some amazingly long claws. =)

I love Christmas decorations! The cranberry bars look very yummy, too.

Victoria said...

Are those the cranberry bars you promised me???? ;) They are soooo good!!!

Love the little santa & bottle brush tree.

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I think it looks perfect for my ladies bible study.



Darlene said...

I LOVE the book recycled as a package. I made a pumpkin one and it is packed up with my fall stuff. Guess I'm gonna have to copy you and make a package one now. Too cute. Love all the Christmas decorations!

V and Co. said...

oh you like to thrift too! love it! we should be friends! :)

Rachel said...

The recycled book is just fabulous and the recipe sounds like it's to die for! I always love a new recipe. Thanks!!

Meg said...

Wow, those things do look good! I bet they are better than Starbucks because their stuff always seems like it's been sitting out for a few days (as it has). I love your Christmas decor.