Mom and Grandma Webner had a Betty Crocker cookbook in the kitchen, and Kish’s Mom did, too. So when the time comes to look for some new Christmas cookie recipes to try this year, the Betty Crocker website — hey, who actually messes with looking at a book anymore? — is one of the first places I check out. I’ve been brought up to trust Betty, and her website always has lots of good options.
I’m always on the lookout, too, for different options for bar cookies, and for some new ways to add a little color, variety, and eye-catching zing to the collection of cookies I’ll be putting into tins and sending out to my friends. The recipe below caught my eye because of its color, shape, and use of cranberries, a perennial holiday favorite. And since I like the taste of cranberries, how can I resist?
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Bars
Ingredients: 1 pouch (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix; 1/2 cup butter, softened; 4 oz (half of 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened; 1 egg; 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries; 1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips. Frosting and topping: 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened; 1/4 cup butter, softened; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, 1/2 cup softened butter, 4 oz. cream cheese and egg with spoon until soft dough forms. Stir in 1/4 cup cranberries and the white chocolate chips. Spread dough in bottom of pan. Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour.
In large bowl, beat 8 oz. cream cheese and 1/4 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar until frosting is smooth and creamy. Spread frosting over top of bars; sprinkle 1/3 cup cranberries over frosting. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.