These Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie Bars are the easiest because they start with store bought sugar cookie mix. Add just five more ingredients for a simple treat that’s perfect during the holiday season!
Zhuzhed Up Plain Sugar Cookies
These cranberry white chocolate cookie bars are part of our Friendsgiving Cocktail Party menu! After making lots of from-scratch appetizers, it’s nice to simplify dessert with this semi-homemade, make-ahead option.
Because there’s hardly a Thanksgiving table without cranberry sauce, I just had to include cranberries into our cocktail party menu. What’s easier than adding some mix-ins to cookie dough to create the flavors of the season?
Baking this as a sheet cookie lets you cut them into perfectly bite-size treats ideal for a grazing party!
Gather Your Ingredients
What I love about using a store-bought mix is there are fewer ingredients to measure!
- Sugar cookie mix — I used Betty Crocker’s 17.5 oz pouch. It’s just right for a standard 13” x 9” baking pan.
- Unsalted butter — softened to room temperature. The soft butter will mix well with the other ingredients to create a dough that is the right texture.
- Egg — just one.
- White chocolate chips — some will go into the cookies and the rest will be melted and drizzle over the tops.
- Sweetened dried cranberries — if they come as whole cranberries, chop them up so you get nice little tart pieces throughout your cookies.
- Orange zest — this gives the cookies a little extra zing and balance.
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Let’s Bake Some Cookie Bars!
- In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix, egg and softened butter with a spoon or spatula. Fold in the cranberries, white chocolate chips + orange zest.
- Press the dough into a prepared 13” x 9” baking pan (lined with parchment for easy removal), and bake for 20 to 22 minutes (don’t overbake or your cookies bars will be too hard).
- Once cooled, melt the remaining white chocolate chips and drizzle it all over. Allow to harden for at least 20 minutes.
- Cut into 1” x 2” rectangles and transfer to a serving tray.
Helpful Recipe Tips
Follow the instructions on the cookie mix package for bake times based on different types of pans, temperatures and size of cookie.
You can also add 1/4 cup chopped nuts or replace all or half of the white chocolate chips in the dough with your favorite nut.
Replace the white chocolate drizzle with a simple powdered sugar icing (1 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 to 2 tbsp of milk or orange juice).
To soften butter, simply leave it on the counter for an hour or two. Depending on the ambient temperature in your kitchen, the butter may not be as soft as you need for working into the dough properly. Use one of these alternate methods to soften butter quickly, or use a pastry cutter to work the butter in (I’ve had to do this when I’ve had the windows open on a crisp fall day).
This is totally normal. As it cools, it will set up. I’ve given a range of 20 to 22 minutes because every oven is different. I’d err on the side of slightly underdone. Baked too long, your pan cookie will get too hard as it cools and will be more likely to crumble when you slice it.
Bake and slice these one or two days in advance of your party and store in an air tight container on your counter or pantry.
When to Make Cranberry Cookie Bars
You mean, other than for your Friendsgiving Cocktail Party? These are great all holiday season long. You can totally include them in your gift giving cookie boxes or at cookie exchanges, too.
Are You Cranberry Crazy? Try These!
- Easy Cranberry Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Cranberry + Brie Donuts
- Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry Miso Mayo
- Thanksgiving on the Cape (cranberry + orange vodka cocktail)
- Spiced Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
- Cranberry Lime Natale Sparkler (slushy cocktail)
Easiest Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie Bars
- 1 pouch sugar cookie mix 17.5 oz
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup white chocolate chips divided
- ¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1-2 tsp orange zest
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment (trimmed as needed). Lightly spray exposed sections of the pan with cooking spray.
- Combine the cookie mix, butter and egg in a bowl until it turns into a soft dough. Fold in half the white chocolate chips and all the cranberries. (Fold in optional mix-ins now, also.)
- Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then carefully lift the pan cookie out and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Melt the remaining white chocolate chips: place in a heat proof bowl and microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, stir. Heat again in 10 second intervals, as needed. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the pan cookie. Allow to harden for about 20 minutes.
- Cut into 1 x 2 in rectangles and arrange on a serving tray.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.