This delightful keto fall treat is reminiscent of the famous cranberry bliss bars sold at Starbucks with cranberries, hints of orange and ginger, and cream cheese icing. This easy recipe is low carb, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
This was one of the very first recipes I blogged back in January of 2016. I was blogging as a hobby and using my cell phone to takes pics of my creations. A few months later I broke out my DSLR and began using my photography background for real. I've been wanting to redo the photos of my cranberry bliss bars ever since.
Cranberries speak fall to me so as soon as September rolls around I begin craving these. Last fall I had a newborn so I never got a chance. A few days ago I decided to finally redo this past and a frantic cranberry hunt began. It took 4 stores until I found cranberries and even then I could only find frozen ones! I hope they'll be more readily available as we get closer to Thanksgiving.
Quoting myself from 2016:
They aren't an exact copycat because I didn't feel like ordering cocoa butter to make sugar free white chocolate chips or spending a day hovering over the oven to make sugar free dried cranberries. If you decide to give either a try google you can find recipes for both online from other blogs.
I, however, wanted these this morning. For breakfast. I'm not the most patient person in the world. Anyway, these are a soft bar flavored with your choice of ginger or orange (the Starbucks version uses ginger but I'm not a huge fan of it so I'm adding a variation to use orange extract instead of fresh ginger). They are studded with fresh cranberries and topped with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting.
Since then I have managed to make my own sugar free dried cranberries and sugar free white chocolate chips have become readily available. But I decided to keep these bars true to my original recipe and keep the white chocolate drizzle optional. It can be fussy and you really don't even miss it. The cream cheese icing is enough.
How to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars
These cranberry bliss bars are on the list of easy desserts. The dough can be made with a wooden spoon or in the food processor. I use my food processor to chop my cranberries so it makes sense to use it for the dough afterward. And then for the cream cheese icing after that.
And no I don't even bother to wash the bowl in between. Blogging has added to the amount of dishwashing I have to do since I have a large family. I take shortcuts whenever possible.
Unsweetened Dried Cranberries or Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries
These really can be hard to find. You can make your own at home by slowly drying the cranberries on your stovetop or in the oven or you can order them online. I came up with the stovetop method accidentally. I made sweetened dried cranberries when I was trying to make cranberry sauce. True story.
I completely forgot I put cranberries and sweetener in a saucepan on low to make cranberry sauce. I was in the basement with my daughter and we were trying to figure out why we were smelling popcorn. It suddenly dawned on me that we weren't smelling popcorn at all, we were smelling my cooking cranberries. I was afraid I burned my cranberry sauce but what I really did was dry out and glaze the berries at the same time.
I finally came back around to that recipe and created a blog post all about it! Check out my recipe for Sugar Free Dried Cranberries.
How to make the BEST cream cheese icing?
You've come to the right place. Cream cheese icing is my favorite thing ever. Or one of them. And I've tweaked my recipe over the years to make a perfect cream cheese icing. My tips are to use a powdered sweetener (granulated sweeteners make it gritty), to add a little butter, and to add a couple drops of lemon extract.
- 6 tbsp softened butter
- ⅓ cup Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet or my sweetener
- 1 tsp molasses ***
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp orange extract
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup ground golden flax (or additional almond flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp ginger optional
- 1 cup fresh cranberries or sugar free dried cranberries (if using fresh, finely chop by hand or in a food processor and toss with 2 tbsp sweetener)
- ½ cup sugar free white chocolate chips optional
White Chocolate Drizzle:
- ½ cup sugar free white chocolate chips optional
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
- Cream together butter and sweetener. Add molasses, salt, eggs, and extracts. Mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips, if using.
- Spread in an 8x8 baking dish. Bake for 30-35 min. until golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the cream cheese, butter, sweetener, and lemon extract until fluffy.
- Spread icing very gently on cooled bars. The bars can crumble if you aren't gentle. The best way to do this is to drop little blobs of icing on slightly warm bars and spread using an offset spatula. Top with chopped fresh cranberries mixed with sweetener or dried cranberries.
- Refrigerate until cold and cut into squares.
Optional - White Chocolate Drizzle:
- When I made this recipe sugar free white chocolate was not readily available. Now that it is, feel free to melt some and drizzle on top!
Originally published January 12, 2016. Revised and republished September 21, 2018.