Cranberry Bliss Bars. Gluten-free cranberry bliss bars. That is a mouthful, but I needed to stress the gluten-free part. Why? Because if you tied my hands together and threatened to douse me in honey and tie me to an anthill, I would never believe these are GF. I’ve had some pretty good results with using Pamela’s all purpose GF flour, but in the back of my mind, I knew the real test would be these Cranberry Bliss Bars. These bars require a moist but dense blondie layer in order to hold the massive amount of cream cheese frosting.
I found the recipe for these last year and they were so good and I may have kept them for myself instead of sharing. I love the mix of ginger, orange, cranberry, and chocolate. But the frosting is what sets these apart. For this recipe, I drastically cut the sugar. Nobody in my family needs a ton of sugar and I love the tartness of orange zest cream cheese.
I admit I had serious doubts about these. I searched for gluten-free recipes. Most called for a delicate combination of various flours that I did not have. I also had doubts concerning the melted white chocolate. I’ve had a lot of trouble this year with it binding up and NOT melting (previous years….absolutely flawless…this year….trouble). But I wanted to try. I wanted to see if I could pull this off with as little difficulty as possible.
I went for the most simple. I replaced the regular flour for Pamela’s baking flour mix. I used the same measurements. And that’s all I changed with regards to gluten free baking.
The results were so much better than I hoped. They were almost buttery, they were so moist but still had a density that could handle the flavors and the frosting. I was a good little soldier and I shared with my family. They had to compete with other holiday legends such as pecan pie, fudge, divinity, and German’s chocolate cake. I think Grandma had a bite and called it good. That’s all the endorsement I need!
Carve out a little time. Clear the counters. Put on some holiday music and make a cup of coffee to sip between layers. This recipe is not just baking. It’s a baking bliss!