Better Than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

Reposting this recipe because they were a huge success last year. Let me know if you make any!

I don’t really need an excuse to go to Starbucks, but I always find myself there more during the holiday season. A small part of me always gets excited when I see they have their cranberry bliss bars out. What I hate more than anything though, is when I take a bite and it’s stale or worse, I go there because I want one of these amazing treats and they are sold out. But now, that’s not a problem anymore because with this simple recipe, you can make your very own cranberry bliss bars anytime you feel like it.

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With all the kits and stores that sell these, you might think why bother making them from scratch. Well, for me there’s something about watching what you mix turn into a replica of what you would buy from the store. I plan on bringing desserts to all our family gatherings after the success of my Milky Way Cupcakes at Thanksgiving. You don’t have to be an expert baker to make these, but the end result definitely will make people think you are. 

A video posted by Nat (@natashaneagle) on

 

The bar itself is soft, yet firm blondie-like sweet base with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mixed into. Topping the bar is a white-chocolate cream cheese frosting. Dried cranberries are sprinkled across and then melted white chocolate is drizzled all over. In researching how Starbucks makes this, I found out they add orange zest to the icing. I’m fresh out of oranges so I left it out and quite honestly, I like my version better.

A photo posted by Nat (@natashaneagle) on

 Of course, to make them look like the dessert sold at Starbucks, I cut them into triangles. If your icing doesn’t reach the edge of your cake, just use a knife to trim the edges adding to the perfection that is this treat.

Better Than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

Yield: 2 dozen triangle bars

A white chocolate cranberry blondies recipe that copycats the delicious Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Ingredients

    BAR LAYER:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare the bar: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In another large bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave then stir in brown sugar. Using mixer beat in the eggs and vanilla. Take the dry ingredients and gradually add them to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick).
  3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (be sure NOT to overbake). Allow to cool.
  5. While the bar is cooling, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well mixed. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate and continue to mix.
  6. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into triangles. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
http://natashaneagle.com/better-than-starbucks-cranberry-bliss-bars/

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Salted Caramel Brownies

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This week, I have been a mess. Considering, it’s only Tuesday, things aren’t going according to my plan. I know the words. I have my handy-dandy outline waiting for me to move from chapter four and on to chapter five.

And yet I’m like this…tumblr_n0uza38fsW1toqelfo1_500

And if I open twitter…
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 Let’s be honest, twitter is always open.

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But today, I distracted myself with baking.

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You can totally make this recipe with a box of regular brownies and caramel sauce. Or, you can make them from scratch. Below is the recipe I used to make the sweet, gooey goodness.

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Salted Caramel Brownies

Ingredients

    For Brownies:
  • Soft butter and flour for greasing and dusting the pan, unless you use spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt (save for the end)
  • For Caramel Sauce
  • 14 ounces caramels
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan or use spray.
  2. With a mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan, set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the caramels and condensed milk over low heat until caramels are melted. Pour over brownie layer, making a pattern of gooey-yumminess.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool.
http://natashaneagle.com/salted-caramel-brownies/

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Every teacher knows if you want a peaceful year, there are two groups of people you need to wow — the custodians and the secretaries. Of course, everyone else is just as important, but those two groups of individuals can make your work day run so much smoother. The very first year I taught, I made a batch of these and gave them to those two groups, they loved them and knew I appreciated all their hard work. My husband had a pot luck now that the government is back to work, so I decided to make some of these.

Candy Shop Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • hot fudge sauce (don't warm it up, you want it really stiff)
  • 2-3 mini Milky Way candy bars, cut up or crumbled
  • Chocolate Caramel Frosting

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper bake cups.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with batter.
  3. Spoon 1 level tablespoon hot fudge sauce into center of each cupcake and cover with remaining batter.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake portion comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Top each cupcake with Hershey's Chocolate Caramel Frosting and Milky Way crumbles.
http://natashaneagle.com/simple-cinnamon-rolls/

Easy Peasy Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars 3

Sometimes you see something in the store and that immediately makes you want to try it. I’ve never made lemon bars before, but I was feeling daring. The hubby wanted them as did I, so I decided to give it a shot. I found a recipe online and altered it ever so slightly. The only problem I found was that I wanted them to be thicker. I think next time I will use a smaller pan.

Lemon Bars

 

Salted Caramel Brownies

Ingredients

    For Brownies:
  • Soft butter and flour for greasing and dusting the pan, unless you use spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt (save for the end)
  • For Caramel Sauce
  • 14 ounces caramels
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan or use spray.
  2. With a mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan, set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the caramels and condensed milk over low heat until caramels are melted. Pour over brownie layer, making a pattern of gooey-yumminess.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool.
http://natashaneagle.com/easy-peasy-lemon-bars/

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

In my quest to find new recipes to use pumpkin with, I stumbled upon a dessert that I had to try. While it requires a lot of ingredients and quite a bit of time, trust me when I say it’s worth it!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll With Caramel Frosting

I tweaked the original recipe I found and added more pumpkin, making my rolls more orange. I need to take that into consideration next time because the dough didn’t roll as well as I hoped it would. Luckily, these rolls tasted delicious no matter how messy they looked.

PCR

[ultimate-recipe id=4666]

Ghostly Halloween Cupcakes

ghostly cupcakes

My new favorite thing to cook is cupcakes. I’m discovering how simply it is to make them and dressing them up isn’t as hard as it seemed. This is a good thing for me. I made a yellow cake mix into cupcakes and iced them with a butter cream frosting (seriously, the best frosting ever). Since the hubs loves anything orange and it was perfect with Halloween around the corner, I put some orange sprinkles on the top. Finally, I topped the cupcake off with a ghostly candy corn candy piece I picked up at Michael’s. 

ghost cupcakes

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcake

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake

I’d like to think that I’m an amazing cook and I made these from scratch. Sadly, that’s not the case. I simply used a box that I found at my local grocery store. I checked Amazon, but I couldn’t find it there. While I am against buying from Wal*Mart while they suck so bad at paying their employees fair wages, but this was the only site that sold it online for those of you that might want to make them yourself.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake

What really made these so yummy is that I filled them with the frosting. If you have wondered how to fill your cupcakes without destroying them, it’s very easy. You need a pastry bag filled with your icing. If you don’t have one, just use a storage bag or a sandwich bag with the tip cut. Put the bag in a tall glass and scoop the icing  into the bag to fill it without a lot of mess. Push the tip with the icing into the center and fill. Easy peasy. My first two high school jobs were in ice cream (Friendly’s and Dairy Queen), so I try to put my icing on as if I were filling a cup or bowl with ice cream.

If you can’t get your hands on this yummy box, try this version instead courtesy of Very Best Baking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (18.25 oz.) spice cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 container (16 oz.) prepared cream cheese or vanilla frosting

Directions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line or grease 24 muffin cups.
  2. BLEND cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.
  3. BAKE for 18 to 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread cupcakes with frosting. Decorate with assorted sprinkles, if desired.

Just Like Grandma’s Apple Pie

Just Like Grandma's Apple Pie

Nothing says ‘Merica better than a slice of Apple Pie. Recently, I took a stab at making one and was quite pleased with the results. I have yet to master pie crust though, so I  bought the premade kind from the refrigerator section of my grocery store. I did however, go right to the source to get my apples – straight from my husband’s grandfather’s apple tree.

First I enjoyed the view at his house

Reedsville, VA

Then I got to work and picked some apples!

Apple Tree

When I got back home, I got to peeling and slicing one of the bags my family picked. Then I added a dash of this and a splash of that and soon enough a pie was born!

Easy To Make Grandma's Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
  • approximately 7 cups peeled and sliced apples
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • apple pie spice can be used instead of cinnamon and nutmeg

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius)
  2. Line pie plate with pie crust and set aside.
  3. Combine apples, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Place mixture in pie crusted pie plate. Dot with butter and place top crust. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together and use fork to seal. Cut slits in top of crust, to allow for venting.
  4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes. Turn temperature down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius) and bake for 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Allow to cool and serve. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

Ice Cream Cupcakes

A weakness for me is and will always be SWEETS. I wanted cake and my kids wanted ice cream. While getting all the supplies needed to make chocolate cupcakes, it came to me that I could make both and Ice Cream Cupcakes were born!

Ice Cream Cupcakes

This has to be the simplest cupcake to make in the history of cupcakes. Not to mention the least messy. You don’t need cupcake wrappers because the cone takes it’s place, so go grab your favorite cake mix and icing and the let’s get this party started! FYI: Prepare your cake mix as directed on the box.

 

Ice cream cupcake mix      Ice cream cupcake prepare

 Ice cream cupcake scoop     Ice cream cupcake ice

TIP: 

  • Use an ice cream scoop to place the batter into the ice cream cones.
  • Scoop the icing (I used buttercream) into a candy decorating bag to make the “ice cream” easier.
  • Don’t stress too much about overfilling your cups. Once it’s cooked, if the cone was too full, simply cut off the top with a knife. I did this for a few of them and made a separate dessert (What I’m calling ice cream cupcake nuggets) from that by putting a little bit of icing in between two tops.

Ice Cream Cupcake Nuggets

EASY! Rainbow Cake

Since finding a gif on tumblr for a rainbow cake, I’ve always wanted to make one. To celebrate my move back to my home state, I did just that!

Rainbow Cake

 

Just mix the cake as directed and then separate into six bowls. Add food coloring until desired colors are reached. Bake in small baking pans, checking frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. I lined my disposable pans with wax paper to make it easier to remove them. Allow cake to cool and then assemble, using your favorite frosting.

 

Easy Rainbow Cake

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