Homemade gluten-free cranberry bliss bars inspired by the ever-popular Starbucks seasonal treat. Packed full of tart-dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, and fresh orange zest and topped with the most amazing whipped cream cheese frosting. You can now enjoy these seasonal treats year-round from the comfort of your own home.
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The Best Gluten-Free Cranberry Bliss Bars
An easy holiday recipe that requires only 12 ingredients and 25 minutes to bake. Talk about a winning combination right there. Packed full of warm buttery brown sugar flavor with a hint of bright citrus and all the cranberries and chocolate chips a person could want!
So Easy To Make: Only 12 ingredients and one mixing bowl are needed. You’ll be enjoying a cranberry bliss bar bar in no time.
Great For Sharing: Everyone loves them: a guaranteed holiday hit.
Cranberries & White Chocolate Chips: The yummiest combination of tart and sweet.
Dietary/Lifestyle Friendly: Whether you’re gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan, dairy-free, or “regular” this recipe can be adjusted to suit your specific allergy, lifestyle, and/or dietary needs.
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bliss Bars Ingredients & Substitutions
As always this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. That said, I do test each recipe with “regular” ingredients and make notes of alternatives or swaps so that everyone can enjoy it.
Here are a few key ingredients for these gluten-free cranberry bliss bars but make sure you scroll to the bottom recipe card for the complete ingredient list.
Flour: I made this with Primal Palate gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. Note: gluten-free flour blends can vary in weight so I recommend measuring by the cup. If you are not gluten-free, swap the flour with regular all-purpose flour.
Butter: I enjoy baking with Becel plant-based bricks but any vegan/dairy-free butter substitute will work. Use regular salted butter if you are not vegan or dairy-free.
Eggs: If you are vegan or egg-free, 2 flax eggs will work as a substitute.
Orange Zest: Fresh is best. I highly encourage you to grate fresh orange zest for both the bars and frosting. You can also use ½ teaspoon of orange extract in the bars and frosting instead. Feel free to omit this entirely if you don’t like a hint of orange.
Brown Sugar: This can be replaced with granulated sugar, cane sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup. If you are using either honey or maple syrup reduce the quantity to 1 cup.
Vanilla Extract: I prefer pure vanilla extract but any vanilla in your cupboard will work.
Dried Cranberries: Sweetened or unsweetened, the choice is yours.
White Chocolate Chips: Pascha makes the most scrumptious plant-based white chocolate chips as does EnjoyLife. If you are not dairy-free or vegan, feel free to use regular white chocolate chips or even some cream cheese-style chocolate chips.
Cream Cheese: Again, as this is written dairy-free, I used plant-based cream cheese. Feel free to swap in regular full-fat cream cheese, the brick kind, in place. I use Violife plant-based cream cheese.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and prepare a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.
2. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with beaters, combine the butter, brown sugar, and orange zest and mix on high for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
3. Add in the eggs (or flax egg substitute) and vanilla extract and mix on high for another 2 minutes.
4. Measure in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until just combined.
5. Gently fold in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.
6. Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake for approximately 22-27 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is barely set. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool in the pan before frosting.
7. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with electric beaters beat the cream cheese and orange zest on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
8. Add in the powdered sugar and salt and mix on low until combined. Turn to high and allow to beat for another 5 minutes.
9. Spread the frosting over the fully cooled cranberry bars and top with additional chopped dried cranberries, melted white chocolate, and coarse sea salt if desired. Enjoy!
10. Store leftover cranberry bliss bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
Vegan Cranberry Bliss Bar Tips & Tricks
Removal: For easy removal, prepare the baking pan with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper. Use the parchment paper edges as handles to gently remove the bars once fully cooled. Note: You can place the bars in the fridge to cool faster.
Baking Time: The key to delicious chewy cranberry bliss bars is to ever so slightly under-bake them. Check them at the 22-minute mark and if the edges are golden and the center appears almost set take them out and see if a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
If so, they are done. If not, put them back in to bake for a few more minutes. Mine are usually ready at the 25-minute mark.
Cutting: Looking for a clean cut? Ensuring the gluten-free cranberry bliss bars are fully cooled before slicing is key. I prefer to frost and decorate the bars, let them chill in the fridge for an hour, and then cut them.
To achieve the copycat Starbucks triangle slices, cut the bars in thirds lengthwise and fourths widthwise creating 12 large rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally creating 24 triangles.
Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar FAQs
Will This Recipe Half?
Absolutely. If you would like to half the recipe use an 8×8-inch baking pan. Note: baking time will decrease slightly.
How will I know when they are fully baked?
You want to see golden brown edges that are set and a slight overall rise. The center may appear a bit underbaked (this is okay) but a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean or with a few crumbs.
Do cranberry bliss bars have to be refrigerated?
Due to the cream cheese frosting, these bars should be stored in the fridge. Before enjoying a slice, take it out and allow it to come to room temperature if desired.
Do I have to use white chocolate and cranberries?
Feel free to use whatever kind of chocolate chips you have on hand or prefer. Milk chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, etc. Dried blueberries, cherries, strawberries, or any other type of dried fruit would be a delicious twist as well. Chopped pistachios would make a flavorful festive treat!
Why You’ll Love These Easy Gluten-Free Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars
Bursting with tart cranberry and sweet white chocolate flavor, these easy dairy-free and gluten-free cranberry bliss bars are an absolute holiday must. The best part, you’ll never have to leave your house to drive to the local Starbucks again.
With an adaptable and simple ingredient list, you can tailor this recipe to suit your dietary or lifestyle needs so everyone can enjoy a bite of cranberry bar yum!
I would love to know if you make these sensational copycat gluten-free cranberry bliss bars. If you do, tag me on social media @cakedbykatie and leave this recipe a 5-star rating and review below. I can’t wait to see it!