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Healthier Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

 December 12, 2023

A sweet bar that’s bursting with cranberries and topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of white chocolate is the perfect wintertime treat. After all, they’re called “bliss bars” for a reason! These Healthier Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are a better-for-you take on the classic Starbucks treat. Made from a base of almond flour, cashew butter, and of course, cranberries, these bars skip out on the extra sugars while still maintaining the sweet flavors that you know and love.

A close-up image of the sliced cranberry bliss bars, sitting on a wire cooling rack

Friends, I’m going to be honest: I love a Starbucks treat. Well, maybe not so much anymore, but back when I was in law school in New York City, I was at Starbucks on the daily. Whether I was getting a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in the fall, or a Medicine Ball in the winter, there are no limits to the amount of fun and festive treats that Starbucks has, every season.

But, let’s be honest: Starbucks isn’t exactly known for being the healthiest. Especially when it comes to their pastries. One of my favorite pastries of theirs are the beloved Cranberry Bliss Bars. These sweet bars are filled with dried cranberries and topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of rich white chocolate. What could be better than that? Well, except the fact that one bar boasts nearly 30 grams of added sugar, which is a sure-fire way to end up feeling sluggish and low on energy after eating it. Not good.

I knew there had to be a better way to enjoy these delicious bars, minus the sugar, which is why I created my own version of the beloved Cranberry Bliss Bars! These bars are naturally gluten-free, and the bars themselves are free of refined sugars, too. But don’t let that fool you – these bars are perfectly sweet, and taste just like the Starbucks version, if not better!

What You Need to Make These Gluten-Free Cranberry Bliss Bars

  • Almond Flour or Oat Flour: These bars are naturally gluten-free, because they’re made with either almond flour or oat flour! Both work just as well, in this recipe. And if you don’t have any on-hand, you can easily make your own oat flour.
  • Maple Syrup: A touch of maple syrup ensures that these bars turn out sweet without the refined sugars!
  • Vanilla Extract: Of course, vanilla extract is essential to any baked goods recipe.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is what gives these bars their light and fluffy texture.
  • Creamy Cashew Butter: You won’t taste the cashew butter, but the creamy texture will ensure that the bars are soft and fluffy on the inside!
  • Egg or Flax Egg: You can use either one whole egg or one flax egg for this recipe. Both work just as well!
A tray, filled with the cranberry bliss bar batter, ready to be baked
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the batter into the baking dish. Use a spatula to press the dough down and flatten it evenly across the baking dish. Then, bake the bars for 20 minutes, until they’re nice and golden.
  • Kosher Salt: A pinch of salt ensures that these bars don’t turn out too sweet.
  • Orange Zest: The zest of one orange pairs beautifully with the cranberries to create an unforgettable flavor.
  • White Chocolate Chips: A drizzle of melted white chocolate gives these bars the perfect finishing touch.
  • Dried Cranberries: After all, these wouldn’t be Cranberry Bliss Bars without the cranberries! You’ll want to use dried unsweetened cranberries, in this recipe.
  • Cream Cheese: These bars are topped with a light and fluffy cream cheese frosting that is to die for! You can use dairy cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese.
  • Powdered Sugar: A little powdered sugar is necessary to achieve that perfectly whipped cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately there are no sugar-free substitutes here.
The finished cranberry bliss bars, sitting on a countertop, with the fluffy cream cheese icing being spread across the top
Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to a stand mixer and beat until the frosting is smooth. Spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cooled bars before slicing.

How to Make This Better-For-You Starbucks Treat

To make these bars, start by preheating your oven to 350 F. Next, add the almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, baking soda, cashew butter, and orange zest to a large bowl. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined. The batter will be thick! Then, fold the white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the cranberries into the batter.

Once the batter is done, line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the batter into the baking dish. Use a spatula to press the dough down and flatten it evenly across the baking dish. Then, bake the bars for 20 minutes, until they’re nice and golden. Once they’re done, allow the bars to cool while you prepare the frosting.

Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to a stand mixer and beat until the frosting is smooth. Spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cooled bars before slicing. If desire, top the bars with the remaining dried cranberries and a drizzle of melted white chocolate. To melt the white chocolate, place the white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl alongside a tablespoon of coconut oil. Melt the chocolate in the microwave safe bowl in 2-3, 30 second increments, stirring the chocolate and coconut oil in-between. Finally, slice the bars into squares, serve, and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A close-up image of the sliced cranberry bliss bars, sitting on a wire cooling rack
gluten-free

Healthier Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

No ratings yet
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
SERVES 8 Bars
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A sweet bar that's bursting with cranberries and topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of white chocolate is the perfect wintertime treat. After all, they're called "bliss bars" for a reason! These Healthier Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are a better-for-you take on the classic Starbucks treat. Made from a base of almond flour, cashew butter, and of course, cranberries, these bars skip out on the extra sugars while still maintaining the sweet flavors that you know and love.

Ingredients

For the Bars:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Flour or Oat Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Cashew Butter
  • 1 Egg or Flax Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Orange zested
  • 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup Dried Unsweetened Cranberries divided

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 8 Ounce Container Cream Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • Melted White Chocolate for drizzling over the top

Instructions

  • To make these bars, start by preheating your oven to 350 F.
  • Next, add the almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, baking soda, cashew butter, and orange zest to a large bowl. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined. The batter will be thick!
  • Then, fold the white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the cranberries into the batter.
  • Once the batter is done, line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the batter into the baking dish. Use a spatula to press the dough down and flatten it evenly across the baking dish.
  • Then, bake the bars for 20 minutes, until they're nice and golden.
  • Once they're done, allow the bars to cool while you prepare the frosting.
  • Add the cream cheese and powdered sugar to a stand mixer and beat until the frosting is smooth.
  • Spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cooled bars before slicing. If desire, top the bars with the remaining dried cranberries and a drizzle of melted white chocolate. To melt the white chocolate, place the white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl alongside a tablespoon of coconut oil. Melt the chocolate in the microwave safe bowl in 2-3, 30 second increments, stirring the chocolate and coconut oil in-between.
  • Finally, slice the bars into squares, serve, and enjoy!

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