Each year, I search and search for a recipe to send out with my Christmas cards. I found a similar recipe to this, tweaked it just a bit, and perfection was born. These have a ton of great flavor…they are a little sweet and a whole lot of delicious! You can use light or regular cream cheese for the frosting, add a little more or a little less orange zest, depending on your taste. Completely customizable to your tastes. Plus, they turn out really pretty. Great for a holiday cookie exchange, gifts to neighbors, or to devour yourself! They are ah-maz-ing!! ~Kathy
- 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
- 1 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
- 2 1/8 c. flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (this helps distribute them more evenly throughout
- the batter)
- 4 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1/2 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
Frosting / Topping:
- 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (regular or light)
- 3/4 c. powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
- 4 oz. white baking chocolate, melted
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
- Stir in the brown sugar until well-combined.
- Whisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined; then fold in the cranberries and white chocolate.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist (not gooey) crumbs. Do NOT over bake!!!
- Let the bars cool completely in the pan.
- For the frosting, using an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer), beat the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and salt together until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Add about half of the melted chocolate and mix until creamy.
- Spread the frosting onto the cooled bars.
- Sprinkle with cranberries and orange zest and drizzle the remaining white chocolate over the top. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.