You know those popular coffee shop cranberry bliss bars that come out every holiday season? Buttery shortbread dotted with dried cranberries, topped with a sweet cream cheese icing — and sometimes are just a little too sweet? Well, these Baking Therapy cranberry bars are inspired by those, but even better! This soft and buttery pistachio shortbread is topped with fresh, tart, in-season cranberries that are bursting with flavour. Finished with a sweet and addictive white chocolate, cream cheese icing. Need I say more?

Cranberry bliss bars on cooling rack

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 to 55 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup crushed pistachios
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest

Filling
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing
⅓ cup (60g) white chocolate, chopped
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Cranberry bliss bar ingredients on kitchen counter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease 9×9 square pan. Set aside.

2. First, whip up the shortbread. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, pistachios, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Beat on low until just combined, texture will be crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for the crumble, press remaining dough firmly into bottom of pan.

Cranberry bliss bars base

3. Now for the filling: in a medium bowl, toss together cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Evenly distribute the cranberries onto the cookie layer. Top with the reserved cookie dough and pack down firmly.

Cranberry bliss bars cranberry layer

4. Bake in oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing.

Cranberry bliss bars cooling on rack

5. For the icing: place the chopped white chocolate or chips in a small bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring often. Set aside to cool slightly.

Related: 12 Coffee and Hot Chocolate Recipes to Warm Your Belly This Fall

6. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Gradually add in the icing sugar and whisk on high to combine. Add the melted white chocolate and milk and whisk on high for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a piping bag and drizzle over top.

Piping bag icing top of cranberry bliss bars

Like Sabrina’s cranberry bliss bars? Try her sticky toffee pudding and pumpkin pie squares with candied pecans.