Fake and Bake

Everybody loves Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars, right? Those artery-exploding triangles available Thanksgiving through New Years are an unholy union of near-pornographic levels of perfect texture, fat content, and flavors.  And they cost $2.25 a pop!

Last year I tried making a “copycat” recipe but I just wasn’t satisfied with the results.  Factor in the difficulty level, and I would have been better off buying the real thing.

*movie trailer voice*
BUT NOW…
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I had a box of French Vanilla cake mix in my cupboard.  I can’t imagine why, or when I bought it, because I hate, hate, hate cake.  (Hate it.)  Needing to get rid of it, I hunted around for some cake-mix-using recipes and came across these easy cranberry bars from Betty Crocker.

“Ok, I’ll just make these for work. That’ll be easy,” I said to myself.

But then I got an idea! A wonderful, AWFUL idea!

“Well, that’s very boring, why settle for that?  I can tweak these bars as a matter of fact! I’ll fake them like Starbucks in 30 minutes flat!”

Muahahaa.

So I stole Betty’s recipe and fused it with this fake Cranberry Bliss Bar recipe and a few bits of hard-won know-how on how to make baked goods come out extra raw and dense and doughy (the way I like ‘em!).  I added orange extract, ginger, yolks instead of whole eggs, more ginger, and upped the butter content.  And then I undercooked that sum’bitch.

The results are….Ah-freaking-mazing and easy as hell!

They’re ginger-topped, white chocolate-enhanced, red-freckled pieces of orgasmicness!!

And now a word from our sponsor.

 

On to the recipe. I was gonna call them “White Ginger Sex Bars”, but in honor of their dubious origins, I’m calling them…

 

Double-Fake Cranberry Bliss Bars

1 box vanilla cake mix (extra-moist style)

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 Tbsp water

2 tsp orange extract

2 tsp powdered ginger

1 egg plus 2 egg YOLKS

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

1 cup white chocolate baking chips

1/3 – 1/2 cup of finely diced crystallized ginger

Topping:
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp canola oil
reserved diced ginger

1.    Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only and lightly flour 13×9-inch pan, or spray with baking spray with flour.
2.    In large bowl, mix cake mix, powdered ginger, butter, orange extract, water and eggs with spoon until dough forms (some dry mix will remain). (I used a stand mixer and had no dry mix left.)
3.    Stir in cranberries, baking chips, and approx. 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger. Spread evenly in pan.
4.    Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs.  DO Not overbake! (I baked them at 325 in a dark nonstick pan for about 21 minutes.  The edges were a bit overdone; next time I’ll try 20 min or less.)
5.    Cool for one hour and slice into bars.
6.    To make topping, combine white choc. chips with oil and microwave on LOW  (LOW!!! I cannot stress this enough) power in 30 second increments, stirring often, until melted.  Drizzle or spread melted chocolate over bars, sprinkle with remaining diced ginger and a few cranberries.

 

You’ll notice that real Cranberry Bliss bars have a cream cheese frosting, and these don’t.  I think that would be overkill, but I suppose that if you wanted to do frosting instead of white chocolate drizzle, you could.  I won’t stop you.  But I personally hate making frosting even more than I hate trying to melt white chocolate, so…..

 

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