Friday, December 14, 2012

A test...of tastiness!

I got to thinking this weekend, which, as we all know I shouldn't do. Like ever. But think I did. I decided that those cranberry bliss bars at Starbucks, you know the ones I'm talking about. They've got cranberries and cream cheese frosting and are completely and utterly unresistable? They can't be that hard to make!

I pondered Tasty kitchen and Pinterest for a while and decided to use one recipe that I found and for the other use my stand-by shortbread cookie recipe.

And we have a bake-off people! Wait, is it possible to have a bake-off when there's only one baker? Whatever, not the point! The point is that I couldn't decided between the two recipes, so I didn't. I made both, in smaller forms, so that I could ultimately decide which was better. This is my kinda bake-off, no matter what, I'm gonna be the winner! And that's not cheating either, in case you thought that.

So, I began by making the biggest mess in my kitchen that you've ever seen. I mean, this was right along side cinnamon roll messiness. Maybe worse, because I had a slight incidence with the powdered sugar and a mixer. Gets me every time. Will I ever learn? Probably not!

Who was the winner? Turns out, there was no winner. Each recipe had it's good points and different points from the other recipe. One was chewier, one was more shortbread-y (that's totally a word, I swear), one had more spices, the other was insanely buttery. Maybe you could combined the two recipes? Holy moly, that might be too insane, even for me! Plus, I'm not very good at mucking around with baking recipes. Those things need to be followed, no joke.

I encourage you make these recipes, so you can tell who the real winner is!

Clarissa's Shortbread
Serves 12

1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup Butter, room temperature
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Cornstarch
3 cups Flour
1 cup Dried Cranberries

1. In a mixure beat the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and cranberries.
2. Slowly add the cornstarch and flour. *I highly highly recommend using a stand mixer for this recipe, I have broken 2 wooden spoons on this recipe because it is so thick and stiff.
3. Once well combined spoon into a 8x8 greased pan. Pat down until evenly spread.
4. Bake on 325F for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown.

Second Shortbread Recipe
Serves 12

1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 Egg
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnmon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

1. In a large mixing bowl mix the butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add the spices and salt. Add the flour and cranberries.
2. Pour into a 8x8 greased pan. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Cream Cheese Brown Butter Frosting

1 8oz block Cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup Butter, browned and cooled
3 cups Powdered sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt

1. In a small saucepan brown the butter. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes before adding to the cream cheese.
2. In a medium size bowl mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and cream cheese. Once butter is cooled, add that as well to the mixure. Beat well.
3. Divide in half and ice both bars. Top with roughly chopped dried cranberries.



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