Little fireworks of flavor, these cranberry bliss cheesecake bars are rich and a perfect way to add pizzaz to your holiday dessert table!! I’m excited to team up with one of my one of my favorite bakers in Portland!!
Carolyn with Next Door Desserts created this delicious recipe as a holiday test for her most requested treat this summer; Chocolate Chip Cheesecake bars. Going for more of a seasonal twist she drew inspiration from Starbuck’s famous Bliss Bars and added some white chocolate chips and a bit of orange zest to make to make your taste buds dance!!
Carolyn’s Cranberry Cheesecake Recipe Notes
Want to make it even easier? Try out store-bought cookie dough. Most large grocery stores carry Tollhouse’s White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookie dough. Purchase two packages and sprinkle a good amount of dried cranberries on the bottom and top layer.
Try flavoring the cream cheese mixture. A little bit of Grand Marnier or Triple Sec would be an elevated and sophisticated touch.
Consider adding some other mix-ins: quick oats, candied orange, ginger, macadamia nuts, or a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cranberry Bliss Cheesecake Bars Recipe
by Next Door Desserts
- ½ cup butter, room temp
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 egg, room temp
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (approx. 1 med-large orange)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- sea salt (optional)
- white almond bark (optional)
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Preheat oven to 350° and line your pan with parchment paper. I cut my parchment paper so that the edges end up just above the lip of the pan.
- Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar. I usually set my stand mixer to 6 (out of 10 settings) for 2-3 minutes to get a nice light, fluffy texture.
- Mix in zest, egg, vanilla, and orange extract. I add in zest a little at a time so that it doesn’t clump in one area. Make sure egg is fully incorporated.
- In separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients into batter in three turns, mix until just incorporated.
- Mix in white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. I use my hands to sprinkle the cranberries in so they don’t all stick together.
- Spread about ⅔ of your dough onto the bottom of your parchment-lined pan. I find this easiest to do with my hands, although a rubber or offset spatula would work as well. Set aside.
- For the filling; beat the cream cheese until smooth.
- Slowly add sugar to the cream cheese. Beat on a medium/high speed for about a minute.
- Mix in egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth. Ideally this mixture should be free from any lumps (as long as your cream cheese is room temp), however, it’s not a big deal if there are a few lumps. This recipe is very forgiving!
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the cookie crust in your pan.
- With the remaining cookie dough, portion it out into small chunks and scatter them on top of the cream cheese mixture. I like to make sure there is still a fair amount of the cream cheese mixture still showing.
- Optional: sprinkle a little sea salt and/or some extra dried cranberries on top before putting your tray bake in the oven. The sea salt helps to make the other flavors more vibrant, and the cranberries just look so pretty!
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cookie part should be a nice golden brown. It is ok if the cream cheese part starts to brown just a bit.
- After mostly cooling to room temp (about an hour), I like to put my whole pan in the freezer for easy cutting. I usually leave it in the freezer overnight, but 1-2 hours should do the trick
- Optional: once your bars are cut, melt some white almond bark and drizzle over your bars. You could also use leftover white chocolate chips and thin it out with a little Crisco or coconut oil. I use the almond bark because it’s very easy to melt and has a brighter white and opaque look that I prefer.
Want to see more yummy desserts and cakes? Check out Carolyn’s Instagram here to see more drool worthy treats!