Monday, November 18, 2013

More Cranberries...

The holidays are certainly coming and I'm loving my Red Cups and Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks these days.  I have been thinking for some time that I wanted to try to make my own version of the classic Starbucks treat and I had a ton of dried cranberries left over from the last cookies that I had tried.  So this weekend, I got down and dirty on Pinterest and in the kitchen.

I came across a great recipe at Grin and Bake It which turned out really well!  Here is the recipe along with my substitutions/changes:

Cranberry Bliss Bar Clone Recipe


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar (I used yellow)
3 eggs
2 Tbsp minced crystallized ginger (I used 1 1/2 tsp powdered Ginger)
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 oz white chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp lemon juice (I used freshly squeezed - gave it a fantastic tart taste)

Drizzled Icing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vegetable shortening


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well.  Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth.  Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand.

Pour the batter into a buttered 9x13 inch baking pan (next time I would line the pan with foil and use a cooking spray instead as the blondie portion was a little difficult to get out of the pan).  Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top.  Allow the cake to cool.

Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening (I would not use a whisk as the icing is difficult to work with, using a spoon will mix it fine enough).  Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

 Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple of hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle.  Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices.  Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Overall - this recipe turned out very similar to the original Starbucks bars and I will be making these again - probably before the holidays hit as Hubby has been enjoying them too!

Speaking of Hubby, he was busy cooking his butt off over the weekend making meals for the week!  He made a delicious pot of sauce which was used for a lasagna and two meals of pasta sauce were frozen for a later time.

He also made a Sheppard's Pie.  Below you will see the pic of the finished lasagna and Sheppard's Pie that all we have to do is pop in the oven this week!

Finally, he tried something new which turned out super delicious - vegetable risotto.  This, will be a new stable in our house I am pretty sure!

If you couldn't tell by now, Hubby is the cook in the family and I'm the baker....

Overall, food wise, it was a pretty productive weekend.  I hope you all had a good weekend too.  If you get a chance to try the Cranberry Bliss Bars, please leave me a comment to let me know how they turned out.  

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Friendship/Thank You Card

Today was another good day of crafting with some wonderful ladies.  I truly love our time together and it is so good to laugh with them.  I'm working on a special Christmas project during our crafting sessions that will be shared on a later blog post - I hope!!!

Tonight I pulled together a quick card to say thanks to a friend who let us spend a couple of nights with her this past weekend.  It was so good to see her and get to spend time with her.  I value her friendship and wish that we could spend more time together more often and that she didn't live 4 1/2 hours away.

To pull together the card I decided to use the colours from the Dynamic Duos Challenge - Crumb Cake and Always Artichoke.  Green is one of my friends favourite colours but unfortunately I didn't have any Always Artichoke paper so I used it for the ink only.

I also used the sketch from Sunday Stamps for inspiration to pull the card together.  I flipped the sketch on it's side as it worked better for the sentiment that I wanted to use.

Here's my card creation for these challenges:

Tools used:

Card stock: Very Vanilla, Crumb Cake (textured), Mocha Morning DSP
Ink: Always Artichoke
Stamp Set: Precious Butterflies
Other: Basic Pearls, Big Shot, Beautifully Baroque Embossing Folder, Stamping Dimensionals

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cookies and Cranberries

My Kraft What's Cooking Magazine came this week - I love that magazine!  Easy recipes and so, so, so good.  So this afternoon I got to trying one of the new cookie recipes.  This new recipe combined two of my favourite things - chocolate and cranberries!  These things start to make it feel like the holidays I find.  Of course, it also helped that I had a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte in one of their Red cups today - yes holiday time is definitely coming...

So today I tried the Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, here is the recipe:

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (Kraft What's Cooking)

Makes 32 servings (yeah right!!)

1 cup flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup Kraft Peanut Butter with Honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 13x9 inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; spray with cooking spray.  Mix flour, oats and baking soda until blended.

Beat butter, peanut better and sugars in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Gradually add flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in chocolate and cranberries; gently press onto bottom of prepared pan.

Bake 20-22 minutes or until centre is set.  Cool completely.  Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars.  

Substitute: Substitute dried cherries for the cranberries.

As you are stirring in the chocolate and the cranberries, you may think there is too much, but let's be honest, there can never be too much chocolate!  And I like cranberries so I don't think there's too much of those either.  It really actually turned out to be the perfect mix!

They came out almost like a large chocolate chip cookie - I think they would be awesome served warm with some French Vanilla ice cream!

The one thing I would say about this recipe is that I'm not sure that the Peanut Butter with Honey actually makes a difference for the price you have to pay for it.  I would try it without next time and may throw in a tsp or two or honey if I felt it really needed it.

Overall, these are really good and would be a great addition to any holiday party!

Thanks for stopping by!

Very Merry!

Today was a good day for me! I spent some time crafting with two lovely friends this morning and then this afternoon baked some very yummy cookies (see separate post).  I've been working on getting my Christmas cards done early so I can get them all sent out and out of the way - less to think about.

I love snowflakes so I have been dying to break out the Snowflake Soiree stamp set now that my craft room is finally set up and functional.  And to top it all off, I totally fell in love with the Dynamic Duos colour challenge this week - the very merry colours of Real Red and Bermuda Bay.  I really wanted to wet emboss on this card and unfortunately Real Red embossing powder is not available so I substituted for Cherry Cobbler with both the embossing powder and the ink.  I still think the colours look good together.

I also thought that this card would work with the CAS-ual Friday's Challenge which is to use either dry or heat embossing.  As you can see, I used heat embossing on the "Merry" part of my cards.

So here are my card creations, I hope you enjoy:

And my favourite part, the heat embossing on the Merry!


Ink - Cherry Cobbler & Bermuda Bay
Card Stock - Whisper White
Stamp Sets - Snowflake Soiree
Other tools - Rhinestones, Cherry Cobbler Embossing Powder

Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another Masculine Card...

Today I spent some time working on another masculine card to send to my Father-in-law as he recently had surgery.  This was a fun one to make as it had a really fun colour combination from Sunday Stamps of Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip and Bermuda Bay.  Unfortunately, I did not have Bermuda Bay so I substituted with Island Indigo which is one of my absolute favourite colours from Stampin' Up!

I also took some time to combine the Sunday Stamps challenge with the Seize the Sketch challenge.

Unfortunately, it's been a rainy and windy day here in Ottawa so my pictures have come out quite dark but here is my card for these challenges:

Clean and simple, I'm hoping my Father-in-Law will enjoy it.


Paper and Colours: Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip, Island Indigo
Stamps: So Happy For You, Six Sided Sampler
Tools: Honeycomb Embossing Folder, Hexagon Punch, Stampin' Dimensionals

Thanks for dropping by!