Cookie #3: Cranberry Bliss at Christmas

Starbucks vs Me

Starbucks vs Me

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar

I always know it is holiday season when Starbucks brings out its Christmas cups and legendary Cranberry Bliss Bar . As I was getting my Chai Tea Latte yesterday, I had a brainwave after staring at those yummy treats.  A couple months back I was at a farmers market and they had this crazy big bag of fresh cranberries for sale.  I said to myself,  “I love dried cranberries, but those Ocean Spray cranberries are pretty expensive.  I bet I can dry those babies.”  As this thought meandered through my mind waiting for my latte, I wondered if I could turn those bars into a cookie?  Of course I can.

Now I have given instructions for drying your own cranberries, which is REALLY easy, but you are certainly welcome to keep buying the famous Ocean Spray brand.  Those berries sure are tasty, however, not as personally gratifying as making your own.  Remember, extra bragging rights come from telling folks you dried your own cranberries.  Trust me people will be impressed.

Dried Cranberries

Rinse Cranberries in a strainer

Place cranberries in a large stock pot

Boil water (in separate pot) enough to cover above cranberries – about 2 quarts for a 12oz bag

Pour boiling water over cranberries allow to sit until skin ruptures – about 5-8min

NOTE: you don’t want to cook the berries, you just want skins to rupture to help with dehydration

Drain the berries and sprinkle lightly with sugar (amount really depends on you taste- about 1/4 cup for a 12oz bag is recommended)

let berries sit for about an hour

spread berries evenly on dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 140F for 12-24hrs, I know a wide range, but you just have to keep checking on them/ I had ALOT of berries so it took me almost 2 days to dry them out

Dehydrator in progress

Dehydrator in progress

(sorry I couldn’t find my photo of cranberries drying – above photo is cherries, blueberries, apricots)

if you do not have a dehydrator (really go get one – they are amazing!) you can dry your berries in the oven at a low temp about 200 / place berries on a parchment lined cookie sheet(make sure they are not touching) will take 24-48hrs

finished product should be chewy or leathery and should be dry to the touch

Dried Canberries

Dried Canberries

store in a sealed jar (do not put into plastic container or plastic zip-lock bag)

Cranberry Bliss Cookie Ingredients

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup white chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

1 cup dried cranberries

DSCF7129

Frosting

4oz cream cheese at room temperature/note I use C’estbon Cheese which is a soft chevre – that is available at Whole Foods

2oz white chocolate baking squares

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup icing sugar

DSCF7144

Topping

1 cup dried cranberries – roughly chopped

3oz white chocolate baking squares

Directions for Cookie Base

– in separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt : set aside

– using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy

DSCF7130

– add eggs one at a time and mix until blended

– reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients until well-combined

DSCF7134

– fold in chocolate and cranberries with wooden spoon until just combined – do not over mix

DSCF7135

– cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour

DSCF7137

– preheat oven to 350

– cover cookie sheets with parchment paper

– scoop out dough with cookie scoop (so cookies are uniform) and place on cookie sheet

DSCF7143

DSCF7141

– bake for 10-12 minutes until golden around bottom and edges

DSCF7146

– allow cookies to cool on wire rack, as cookies are cooling make the frosting

Frosting Directions

– melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler and let cool slightly

– add chocolate to cream cheese (ENSURE cheese is at room temperature- if not chocolate will not blend) and blend with hand mixer on medium speed

– add vanilla until mixed through

– add icing sugar and mix on low until combined: ensure frosting is firm enough to spread/ if not add more icing sugar

DSCF7147

– add dollop of frosting on each cookie

DSCF7148

– spread frosting with palatte knife

DSCF7152

DSCF7150

– add dried cranberries to each cookie

DSCF7155

– melt balance white chocolate in microwave or double boiler and use fork or piping bag to swirl on top of cookie

Starbucks VS Me

Starbucks VS Me

Well I have to say I enjoy my cookie more then the Starbucks version (I am naturally a bit biased).   My cookie base is not as heavy as Starbucks and my cream goat cheese frosting is tangy with just the right amount of sweetness.  I topped my berry bliss with a drizzly hint of white chocolate.  But it was the homemade dried cranberries that really made the tasty difference.

DSCF7164

Morning tea with Cranberry Bliss cookie

Morning tea with Cranberry Bliss cookie

Cranberry Bliss Cookie

Cranberry Bliss Cookie

DSCF7162

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s