Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: Paleo Spirit

It started snowing early on Saturday morning, far earlier than expected. The flakes were the big, fluffy kind you see when the air temperature is not terribly frigid. We were inclined to stay inside and enjoy the view from our warm home. But, unfortunately, we were out of coffee and there was grocery shopping to be done. So, I grabbed my husband, Gavin, and we trekked to the store to stock up on supplies. In a state like New Jersey where snow is no stranger you would think people would know not to panic-buy. But judging by the bustling grocery store, that is not the case.

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

paleo cranberry bliss bars

After deftly battling the crowds, and stocking up on necessities, we ventured to Starbucks for a pound of their Christmas Blend coffee. I am no stranger to Starbucks and may have mentioned before my penchant for the Grande Americano with Heavy Whipping Cream. But each time I’ve been in the store in recent weeks the seasonally available Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar has been sweetly calling my name. I resist. In fact, having celiac disease means there’s really no way I even seriously entertain the notion of eating one of these beauties. It’s sad, actually.

Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: Paleo Spirit

But I got a bright idea! I would have Gavin eat one and describe, in detail, what he tasted so I could make a gluten-free, paleo-friendly version of the Cranberry Bliss Bars. And that is exactly what we did. He ate it a little too quickly if you ask me. And in fact I got a little snippy telling him to slow down, that the ONLY reason he was eating it was because he was on a mission – a mission of mercy to those of us longing for, yes, CRAVING, one of these things!

Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: PaleoSpirit.com

At that point all I heard was, “cream cheese…lemon…ginger…*garble* some kind of chunky white stuff, oh, that’s probably white chocolate..boy, that was good!” And with that, the cranberry bliss bar was history. Gee, thanks for that in-depth analysis, honey.

Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: PaleoSpirit.com

So let’s go for it. This recipe for Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and (mostly) free of refined sugars. The dried cranberries will almost certainly contain sugar. So if you are just absolutely opposed to it then this recipe is not for you. But compared to the original recipe, and most other treats you will be offered this holiday season, this recipe has far less sugar and still manages to be moist and delicious.

Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: Copycat Starbucks Recipe

Ingredients for Cranberry Bars*

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 cup granulated coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, ghee or butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon (or orange) extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips/chunks (optional) – I didn’t use these but they are part of the original recipe

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 1/2 cup palm shortening
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon (or orange) extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for Drizzle

  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 teaspoons full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon (or orange) extract

Alternative drizzle – 1/4 cup white chocolate chips + 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil melted together

Copycat Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars: Paleo Spirit

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease an 8×8 pan and place a layer of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan long enough to come up two sides.
  3. Sift the almond flour, coconut flour, ginger, baking soda and salt together. Stir in the coconut sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the (room temperature) eggs and add the lemon (or orange) extract and melted (but not too hot) fat (ghee, coconut oil or butter)
  5. Combine the wet with the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Stir in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips (if using)
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Lift out of the pan using the sides of the parchment paper.
  8. Mix the shortening, honey, citrus zest and citrus extract together and smooth over the cooled cake. Top with the 1/4 cup of dried cranberries. Drizzle with the coconut butter mixture or the alternative melted white chocolate/coconut oil.
  9. Cut the cake into fourths then cut each square diagonally to get 8 large triangles. For smaller servings cut again to get 16 pieces.

Notes: The original recipe uses cream cheese in the frosting. This one obviously does not because of the desire to be dairy-free. You could possibly make a frosting that tastes a bit like cream cheese frosting by using soaked raw cashews – in fact, maybe I’ll try that next and post as an option. The bars would probably be delicious with some crystalized ginger pieces. My husband didn’t detect any in the original but the bars are ginger flavored so if you can splurge on the extra sugar on a special occasion then it might be a nice touch. 

Paleo Cranberry Bliss Bars: PaleoSpirit.com

I hope you enjoy these copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars and that they satisfy your craving, thus keeping you on the “straight and narrow”. Let me know what you think.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Find more of my paleo dessert recipes here.

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