A few years ago my kids and I went to Maui for Christmas.  I thought we would miss being home but I have to say that the warm weather and salt water made up for what we missed in the Christmas department.  Tater golfed all day while Tales drove us around in the golf cart.  The best part was that it was 80 degrees…on December 25th!!  It was absolutely glorious…the best trip I have ever taken.  It is strange to miss traditions though.  There wasn’t a decorated tree, or even wrapped gifts {although I did take their stockings to surprise them} but it didn’t matter because we were together and having the time of our lives!

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One of the things that I remember eating while we were there that reminded me of holiday flavors are the Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks {oh my goodness…they are so good}.  Nearly everyday when Tater was golfing, Tales and I would make a Starbucks run before we hit the beach and Cranberry Bliss Bars were my guilty pleasure.  This shortbread is a nod to the bars at Starbucks and dare I say…even better.  The shortbread is made with brown sugar which makes them extra tasty.   The best part about them is that they remind me of my sweet babies and the best vacation ever!!

Cranberry Bliss Shortbread

Brown sugar shortbread, filled with chopped dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and orange zest. The perfect holiday treat!

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 20

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter {melted}
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar {firmly packed}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 5 tbsp cornstarch
  • zest one orange
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries {chopped}

Topping {optional}

  • 4 oz cream cheese {softened}
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Lightly spray a 9x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

  3. Whisk the melted butter with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. 

  4. Blend in vanilla and then stir in flour, cornstarch, orange zest, white chocolate chips and cranberries.  Stir just until everything is combined and the orange zest, white chocolate chips and cranberries are evenly distributed.  Don't over mix the dough.

  5. Pat the dough into the pan with your hands, making sure it is an even layer of dough.

  6. Bake for about 25 minutes.  The top will look pale, but the dough will be just beginning to turn golden around the edges.

  7. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

  8. To add topping:  Combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth.  Drizzle onto cooled squares.  It will take about 20 minutes for the frosting and chocolate to set.

Recipe Notes

  •  You can easily double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan but the baking time would be a little longer.