Friday, December 6, 2013

Browned Butter Bliss Bars

A holiday favorite, this cranberry and white chocolate blondie bar is taken to another level with the addition of browned butter. Who knew something so simple could be so delicious?

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So a few years back, I was standing in line at Starbucks, drooling over every single bakery item when I spotted the cranberry bliss bar.
It was love at first sight.

Obviously, I can't go back every day, stand in that line and get one (that could just be plain embarrassing!) ..why on earth would I do that when I can make a whole pan?
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And keep them all for myself...
Ok, maybe share a few of them.

Since that fateful first bite, I've been baking these amazing little bars every year for the holidays and they are always well received.
This year, I decided to go one step further with my melted butter in the recipe and go with browned butter.
OMGsuchagreatidea. 
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I can't even describe what that little alteration did to the flavor.
I recommend you taste them for yourself and see!

Browned Butter Bliss Bars
Makes 24 bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

For the frosting:
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and divided
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch square baking pan and line with parchment with 2 sides overhanging. Butter parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk occasionally until butter starts to brown and turn amber in color. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk egg, sugar, and vanilla until combined. Whisk in butter. Add flour and salt and stir only until flour is combined. Fold in white chocolate and cranberries.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with no crumbs. Mine were perfect after 20 minutes. Its very important not to over bake, so I always error on the side of underdone.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.

Make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with 3/4 of the melted white chocolate. Add vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar a half cup at a time until frosting reaches desired thickness.

Remove bars from pan using parchment overhangs. Frost un-sliced bars with frosting and drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped cranberries.
Slice into 12 squares and slice each square diagonally into two triangles, making 24 bars total. 

Enjoy!

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