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.
Cranberry Bliss Bars – Low Carb, Keto, THM S, Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
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 find sugar free dried cranberries and have successfully used raw cocoa butter as a white chocolate sub. But I decided to keep these true to my original and skip the white chocolate drizzle. It can be fussy and you really don’t even miss it. The cream cheese icing is enough.
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 in the oven or you can order them online. I’m working on an easier method. I accidentally made sweetened dried cranberries when I was trying to make cranberry sauce. True story. I’m going to test this method a few times before I share it but be hopeful.
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.
Now I just need to see if I can do that again!
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.
This healthy version of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars will let you have this classic fall treat guilt free!
- 6 tbsp softened butter
- 1/3 cup Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet or my sweetener
- 1 tsp molasses ***
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup ground golden flax (or additional almond flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ginger optional
- 1 cup fresh cranberries finely chopped by hand or in a food processor and tossed with 1/2 tsp pure stevia or 2 tbsp of my sweetener
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tbsp butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sweetener
- 4 drops lemon extract
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.
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.
*** I get a lot of comments from my low carb readers on the use of molasses. I use it for flavor, not sweetness. One teaspoon of molasses has 5 grams of carbs. This recipe makes 16 bars. That is less than .5 grams of carbs from the molasses. If you prefer you can just omit it.
My original recipe had thin bars baked in a 9x13 baking pan. If you would prefer thinner bars bake for 20-25 minutes and double the amount of icing.
Notes on Sweeteners:
To sub in Swerve use 1.5 to 2 times the amount of sweetener called for.
Originally published January 12, 2016. Revised and republished September 21, 2018.