Cranberry Bliss Bars {Healthier Starbucks Copycat}

December 3, 2013

in Breads, Muffins, Cookies, Gluten Free, Recipes

Cranberry Bliss Bars Healthier Starbucks Copycat

Since the healthier Starbucks treats seem to be a hit (see my Healthier Starbucks Pumpkin Scones), I thought I’d come up with another. This is another treat I hadn’t tried until recently, but I know many people love them.  Since they aren’t gluten free, I had never picked one up.  But of course for recipe testing research, I got one recently and tasted it to see about coming up with a replicate.  To me, they are basically a blondie with white chocolate and dried cranberries topped with a decadent cream cheese icing. Some find there is a orange flavor, but I didn’t taste that. I tasted a small hint of citrus in the icing, so I was sure to include that.

Cranberry Bliss Bars Healthier Starbucks Copycat_2

A treat for sure, as I found them quite sweet.  My first attempt at making these wasn’t successful, so I re-wrote the recipe and tried it again, and this time made 2 versions.

With 1 version, I used leavening (baking powder and baking soda).  The other version I used no leavening at all, and it produced a more dense blondie.

The two textures are completely different (but both delicious mind you).

As you can see, the one without leavening is much more flat and dense. I believe that this version tastes more like the classic Starbucks version. So if you want as close to a replicate as Starbucks, I recommend leaving the leavening agents out.

Cranberry Bliss Bars Healthier Starbucks Copycat 4

But just for fun, I wanted to do a batch with some baking powder and baking soda added. The end result was a more cake-like blondie. As you can see its much thicker and fluffier.

Cranberry Bliss Bars Healthier Starbucks Copycat 3

So it all depends which you might prefer. My hubby and I actually preferred the one with the baking powder and liked the lighter texture.

Feel free to make it whichever way you think you might enjoy more…

Oh and as for nutrition on these…they are a much better option than the Starbucks one (for fun I included the nutrition for the Starbucks version at the bottom of the recipe!)  I also used reduced sugar Craisins as I happened to see them in the store, but you can always use regular….there will just be slightly more sugar per serving.

Other thoughts?  The icing on these is a must in my opinion 😉 If you’d like to double the batch, by all means…do it! Just put the batter in a 9 x 13 pan instead of an 8×8 and cut into 16 bars.

Cranberry Bliss Bars {Healthier Starbucks Copycat}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A healthier version of the Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar. Its gluten-free, and could be made dairy-free.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Yield: 8
For the bars
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white (I used 2 Tbsp carton kind)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted but not hot (or vegan margarine or perhaps even coconut oil )
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce (I used 1 snack pack)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries (I used Reduced Sugar Craisins)
  • ½ cup oat flour
  • ½ cup almond flour (or almond meal)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 packets stevia (or ⅓ cup no calorie sweetener of choice) * could also use raw brown sugar, honey etc. Nutrition will change
  • 1 (1 oz) square Bakers white chocolate, chopped (or 1 oz of white chocolate chips) * not sure if dairy-free white chocolate chips are available, but you could always use dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (optional)
For the icing
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In your large mixing bowl or stand mixer (with paddle attachment), mix together the egg, egg white, applesauce, vanilla, stevia and melted butter. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Add in the oat flour, almond flour, and the baking powder and baking soda if you choose to use it. Mix until blended.
  4. Stir in the 3 Tbsp of cranberries and chopped white chocolate by hand.
  5. Pour batter into an 8x8 baking dish. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until batter is set and it starts to brown around the edges.
  6. Allow to cool in pan. Cut in half lengthwise, and half width wise. You'll be left with 4 big squares. Cut the squares on a diagonal to make triangles.
  7. Meanwhile mix together all the icing ingredients. Spread a thin layer on the cooled bars, and sprinkle with chopped dried cranberries. If you have any icing left over, thin it with a touch of milk and drizzle remaining over them with a fork.
  8. Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.
*Compared to Starbucks Calories: 340 Fat: 19 g Carbs: 39 g Fiber: 1 g Sugars: 28 g Sodium: 190 mg Protein: 3 g
Serving size: 1 bar with icing Calories: 174 Fat: 8.7 g Carbs: 23 g Sugar: 13 g Sodium: 123 mg Fiber: 3.3 g Protein: 4 g

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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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  • Lynn

    I can’t use nuts unfortunately (allergies in my house). Do you think it would work with all oat flour? Or is the nut flour a must for the dense texture?

    • Kristine Fretwell

      You could use all oat flour for sure. The texture will be slightly different, but they’ll still work fine.

  • Christina

    Have never bought Starbucks, but these looks good regardless! Higher protein and fibre, lower everything else – impressive! Where do you prefer to buy almond flour? Bob’s Red Mill is just so expensive…

    • Kristine Fretwell

      For these, you can just use ground almonds. I usually get a huge bag of almond from Costco, and grind them myself. Much cheaper that way. Not sure if you’re in US or Canada, but they do also sell almond flour at Trader Joes.

      • Christina

        I’m in Canada too. Have yet to join Costco – that sounds like the best way to go.

  • Jaime

    Soooo yummy! Mine crumbled a bit, but I don’t think I let them cool long enough before cutting. I made them for breakfast, but you’re right, they’re really sweet. Probably a better dessert. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Glad you liked them Jaime 🙂

  • Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty

    sounds so yummy!!! I’d pick the denser one!! mmmm so far I’ve never found dairy free white chocolate sadly 🙁

    • Kristine Fretwell

      Ok thanks Jessica, I wondered and hoped you might know! Let me know if you ever come across one. I’m sure it would still be delish with dark chocolate chips too!

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