gluten-free snacks

Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

January 22, 2014

For some reason unbeknownst to me I seem to think I live in a grocery store. I’ve let you in on the secret list I keep on my phone of recipe ideas that pop into my head, but occasionally I get the urge to make those recipes right away. However, it never seems to occur to me that I might not have all ingredients on hand. These realizations tend to happen about halfway through the baking/cooking process…

orange cranberry barsThis is precisely what happened with this recipe. I woke up with cherry pie on my mind and I got the grand idea to make chocolate cherry pie balls (for the record balls are always on my mind too thanks to Kewaza!). Here’s where I ran into a problem, I didn’t have dried cherries nor did I have chocolate (except the good stuff which is too precious) making chocolate cherry pie balls somewhat difficult to make.

Orange Cranberry BarsAt this point I had already processed the cashews and dates and the snowstorm outside meant a trip to the grocery store was not a possibility. Serious improvisation was necessary. Thankfully at the very bottom of my baking drawer I found a bag of white chocolate chips and just barely a cups worth of dried cranberries. The orange got added purely because it was sitting on the counter in front of me. So they aren’t chocolate cherry pie balls, but these Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Bars are pretty damn good nonetheless.

That my friends is how the magic happens.

Orange Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

by The Healthy Maven

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Keywords: no-bake dessert snack dairy-free gluten-free orange cranberry white chocolate bars

Ingredients (Yields: 12 bars)

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice 1/2 an orange
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, melted


1. In a food processor or high-powered blender process dates until pea-sized.

2. Add in cashews and process for another minute.

3. Add in dried cranberries and process for another minute.

4. Add in sea salt, orange zest, juice and vanilla extract and process until mixture comes together to form a sticky ball.

5. Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with plastic wrap.

6. Press bars into pan and smooth out top so it is even.

7. Freeze for 15 mins.

8. Remove from freezer and cut into 12 bars.

9. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

10. Keep in fridge for up to a month or freezer for several months.

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orange cranberry bars 3

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  • Reply
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
    January 22, 2014 at 5:23 am

    These look delicious!! I wish my stomach loved me more when I ate dates, if I eat more than one or sometimes less I always get bad stomach pains. Eating this bar would be worth the pains.

    I sometimes wing recipes if I see ingredients around that I think will work together or if I think of an idea that I don’t have ingredients for I will go buy them.

  • Reply
    Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness
    January 22, 2014 at 6:23 am

    I am actually seriously happy that you didn’t have the ingredients on hand (and, my gosh do I do that ALL the time, and I totally keep a phone list too!) because these bars look om nom nom!
    I was just thinking about how I should make my hubby some quick, portable snacks for his lunch and these look like a winner.

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    January 22, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I live in the grocery stores too and often wonder why I don’t buy more at a time or at least remember everything on the list I write out lol…I keep most ingredients on hand but I go through my baking phases so sometimes I will be without something and try to make do with what I have. I also have my stash of good chocolate vs. the chocolate I use for certain random recipes. If it’s a new recipe, I don’t want to waste my chocolate lol. And if I am being totally honest, I don’t like to share my “good” ingredients or my good peanut butter in all of my baked goods.

  • Reply
    Elise @
    January 22, 2014 at 6:53 am

    We don’t keep much ingredients/food at our house, except what we meal plan for that week.. so when I’m trying to make something new it either has to go in the meal plan or I’ll be making some trips to the grocery store

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 7:08 am

    I love it when recipes are born of necessity (and an almost-entry pantry). Sometimes those are the best! Kind of wish I was breakfast-ing on one of these right now.

  • Reply
    Ksenija @ With An Open Mind
    January 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

    What a delicious combination! Orange, cranberry and white chocolate itself made my mouth water, but when I saw that these are actually date bars (my favorite homemade snacks) I just couldn’t hold myself. Girl, I love you so much for posting such a delicious recipe, which I can actually make without using an oven!!! Happiest girl in whole France right now – I only need to find cashews in the store. Challenge accepted πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Woo-hoo! From now on I’ll be thinking of you and how you are unbelievably living without an oven!

  • Reply
    Kim @ BusyBod
    January 22, 2014 at 7:24 am

    As far as I’m concerned, being able to improvise IS magic. I have an anxiety attack if I don’t have what I need on hand. These look delicious πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    kathy @ vodka and soda
    January 22, 2014 at 7:32 am

    i have zero creativity in the kitchen. if a recipe has instructions, i follow them. i really do envy bitches like you who know how to substitute things or create things on the fly. you make the rest of us look bad. stop it already! love youuuuuuu!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ FruitnFitness
    January 22, 2014 at 7:46 am

    These sound so good! If I’m planning to make a recipe I’ll pick up stuff at the store but frequently, especially with baking, I just start. Often times just starting, like you, leads to quite a few recipe adaptations as I realize I don’t have the things I thought I did.

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    January 22, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I usually get the gist of what I need written out beforehand, but sometimes just going through the produce section will spark an idea or seeing a new grain will bring on the creatively in the moment.
    When I was little I used to wish I actually did live in the grocery store. I was daydream about having endless foods to cook with and try right at my fingers tips! Haha!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      I love being inspired at the grocery store! And playing grocery store was definitely my fav game. I loved my pretend cash register!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I admire you for forgetting about the white chocolate chips!! I think they wouldn’t even make it from the grocery bag to my drawer.
    I’m already in love with these, cause white chocolate is my fave. And dates!!! Hell yes.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Trust me, if I’d known they were there they would have my demolished! I probably hid them on purpose then forgot!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    January 22, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Ohhhh these remind me of the combo that I was basically obsessed with over the holidays. So.freaking.good. And yup! Definitely been in that position before. That’s how some of my recipes unintentionally turned out vegan πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Almond Eater
    January 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Haha I’m kind of the same way–I’ll think of a recipe and then be like MUST..MAKE….RIGHT…NOW. Only I never have the ingredients I need and then I either A) Have to make a trip to the grocery store immediately or B) Wait until the weekend. Lately because of the weather I’ve gone with B. These look really good–I do need to start making my own bars.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      You can make these and I’ll make your almond energy bites! Now gotta get me some Justin’s vanilla AB!

  • Reply
    Shashi @
    January 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

    These bars are pure magic – they remind me of homemade Larabars (which I am a huge fan of) – so moist and droolworthy!

  • Reply
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves
    January 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Wow this sounds like a KILLER flavor combo. I love how easy this recipe is as well! Hooray for food processors!

  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    January 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

    You’re definitely braver then I am when it comes to winging recipes. I have no problem doing it for something I’m cooking, but it definitely makes me nervous if I’m baking something. Definitely not confident enough in my baking skills!

  • Reply
    Ang @ Nutty for Life
    January 22, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I love the photo styling you did to these. And the graphic lettering on the top photo is really pretty too. This is reminiscent cranberries and oranges are so fresh tasting and wonderful, and I know that they would pair perfectly with the creaminess of cashews. Since I am still super new to recipe creation, I plan things out. Except for those really ugly but tasty green turkey mini meatloaves I made once, those were total improv.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      You got me at “really ugly green turkey mini meatloves”. I hope that’s how you titled the post! I would have been sold without even looking at the recipe….

      phone just vibed! I think it’s you πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I am glad you made the mistake because these look awesome! I definitely need all the ingredients to make anything. If I don’t have something that means a trip to the grocery store…for the hubs, not me!

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food
    January 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

    These look great! I definitely find myself realizing mid-recipe that I’m missing a key ingredient. I also have a bad habit of buying stuff I already have and forgetting the one thing I need.

  • Reply
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey
    January 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Um, yum!!! I looooove things that I don’t have to bake! I am trying to imagine the taste of these two things together (cran and orange), and I can’t, BUT doesn’t mean I’m not gonna make them!! Delicious!!

  • Reply
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes
    January 22, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Wow those look amazing! As soon as I buy a food processor I will be making these! Sometimes I plan out recipes but most of the time it’s spur of the moment with whatever I have in the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Kristina @ Damn Ten Pounds
    January 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I never bake, so knowing damn well I will mess it up makes me anal about following directions. I go to the store and scrutinize my list about 10 times, then triple check the directions once I get started. Baking stresses me out!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I think it’s so amazing that you can just “think up” recipes like this!! I can barely think up a sandwich idea!!!

  • Reply
    Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries
    January 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Yum yum yum! These are perfect pre-workout!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    LOVE!! This is one of those combos that I crave non stop. Something so amazing about all these flavors together! And I typically do plan before I bake, although I have run into a snag once or twice. I typically just yell at my hubby till he rescues me and goes and picks up what I need πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    January 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Oooh heck yes! These look awesome! I love oranges, cranberries, and white chocolate. Such an awesome flavor combination of sweet and tart!

  • Reply
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs
    January 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    SO glad you got to make these in the end! White chocolate + orange + cranberries is such a killer combo.
    These bars look like the perfect healthy snack. I’ll take a dozen, please! ;–)

  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    January 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    THIS IS NO BAKE WHICH MEANS I CAN MAKE IT. I don’t have a blender or a food processor on me so maybe I’ll get a meat smasher and smash the dried fruits…Why am I so smart? I love winging recipes with what I have on hand…lends to some strange combinations. Hi!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      I’m still entirely confused how you could make these in a meat smasher. I’m just envisioning you with a huge hammer hammering at the dates and crans and it’s kind of amazing. Your arms look killer in this mental image by the way…I have a crush on you.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    It is still pretty impressive how you can just pull things out of your ass and make something that looks so delicious. I am the worst at baking, but am trying a little harder now that I got my new Kitchenaid.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Ah I saw that beaut!

      The other day C and I were talking about things that we needed to buy to furnish our apartment. I told him we didn’t need anything cause I already have my standmixer. Beds are overrated…..

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Feeeding the Brain and Body
    January 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I often wing it but occasionally when I am craving something very specific I make sure I have everything. These bars look so great, I love cranberries!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    January 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Omg, I run into that problem all the time! But then sometimes I run into the opposite problem where I think my house is a Bulk Barn and I decide to stock up on ALL THE INGREDIENTS, and then I actually have too much extra food in my house. I can’t win haha.

    These look like an awesome improvisation though!

  • Reply
    Reba- Not So Perfect Life
    January 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I try to write everything down before I got but I always end up having to go back and grab something! I love these bars, very Lara baresk

  • Reply
    Sarah Pie
    January 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Improv is the best! You never know what you’re going to get, but these look amazing πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I usually follow recipes but that’s mostly because I’m boring when it comes to food.

  • Reply
    Madison @ Eating 4 Balance
    January 22, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Every recipe I make I just kind of wing it. It’s a rare moment when I actually follow the instructions 100%. Usually I’ll have some concept in my head, but then just work it out as I guess. The best way in my opinion!

    You made a great choice adding the white chocolate drizzle on top. That just took these bars from yum to OMG. Haha. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I LOVE talking to fellow “wing-it” bloggers <--yes I just coined that term! I think cooking and baking is my one outlet for creativity, so I figure why not go wild?!?!

  • Reply
    Nikki @ will run for pizza
    January 22, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Those bars look and sound deeelish! I wish I was creative in the kitchen like you, but no. I have to stalk food bloggers for recipes that I can follow and then make those, post about them, and pass the credit to where the creativity belongs. πŸ˜‰ but hey, at least I can follow a recipe right?!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    January 23, 2014 at 12:42 am

    For some reason, these remind me of Halloween. And Halloween reminds me of fall. And fall reminds me of Thanksgiving. I miss the holidays. To soon to start a Thanksgiving count down?

  • Reply
    Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate
    January 23, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I love Lara-type bars like this, and the white chocolate just makes these 100 times better.

  • Reply
    Shawn @ Fruity 'N' Nutty
    January 23, 2014 at 1:47 am

    That is exactly how the magic happens! πŸ˜‰

    I love how you always share these little anecdotes before you move on to the recipes. Especially since most recipes are way out of my league, regardless, these look really delicious!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Girl this recipe legit only requires throwing a bunch of things in a food processor and then a freezer. Probably the easiest of any of my recipes!!! But in the meantime I’m glad someone appreciates my stories hehe

  • Reply
    January 23, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Confession: I’m jealous of you & your creativeness. No lie, I wish I could just whip up something that looks this good. I really need to start bulking up on dates when I buy because so many of your recipes always call for them, and by the time I go to make one.. I’m out πŸ™ boo!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      HA you are so right, my recipes use a lot of dates! How did I never realize this? Wish I could send you some of my stash!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    January 23, 2014 at 8:19 am

    These are so dreamy!! I’ve been obsessed with adding fresh orange juice and zest into goodies lately. It’s kinda like my way of escaping to the tropics pretending it isn’t negative a million degrees outside.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      If I closed my eyes and plugged my ears I might even believe I’m in florida eating a Fla orange cranberry bar…k bad joke. I just wanted to comment cause I want to respond to all of your comments πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    January 23, 2014 at 9:01 am

    You are not alone. But I won’t admit to how much time exactly I spend in there πŸ™‚ Love the white chocolate and orange combo! So fresh and bright – goodness knows we need something like that right now!

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    January 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

    They look yummy!!!

  • Reply
    cait @pieceofcait
    January 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

    ooooh I love this combo! this would be amazing with afternoon tea or coffee.

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    January 23, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Sometimes the best recipes are those that happen on the fly or as a result of improper planning. I constantly do this (can seem to plan every other aspect of my life but not having proper groceries on hand…) and some of my most popular recipes have resulted. These look fantastic and I bet they never would have happened if you’d had those cherries πŸ™‚ So I for one am quite pleased you didn’t have any and that there was a snowstorm. Ok maybe not happy about the snow storm, but silver lining?

  • Reply
    Nikki @ Quest for Balance
    January 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    These sound unreal. If it wasn’t so ridiculously freezing out I would totally trek it to the grocery store to grab the ingredients. But, since it’s practically the arctic tundra today, I’ll have to wait until my roomie drive my ass to the grocery store during our weekly trip. Totally being made for next week’s snacks though. Thanks for the recipe love!

  • Reply
    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat
    January 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    You are so right, that is exactly how magic happens! I love it when I’m pleasantly surprised by the results of winging it!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Nothing more satisfying! Nice to see you pop in Heather πŸ™‚ if it weren’t for the white chocolate melting these would be perfect for Raw Foods Thursday!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast
    January 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Ooh, yummy!! I have dates I’ve been waiting to turn into some version of this. As for recipes and throwing things in, I do a lot of both… sometimes winging it, sometimes not.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Anything involving the food processor (or slow cooker!) tends to be a mish mash of ingredients. Then I cross my fingers and hope it turns out!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve never thought to put orange and cranberry together but what a good idea! And I can’t eat white chocolate anymore since my senior year of high school I melted a whole bag and drenched strawberries in the stuff and spent the entire night throwing up….but these look so good!! If you can make ME crave white chocolate you’ve created something beautiful πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      I’m going to pretend I didn’t read that so I can still eat white chocolate lol!!! But I feel the same way about doritos…scarring.

  • Reply
    Jordan Lynn // Life Between Lattes
    January 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Ahhh, anything with dates is a home run! Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to my food processor at the moment – so sad for me.

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    January 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I’d say this is one awesome mistake! I’m just getting into date recipes and they’re magical. I can only imagine how good they taste too!

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      I’m sold on anything that doesn’t require me to use the oven. Though admittedly I turned on the oven while making these cause it was so damn cold in my house I needed it to warm me up!

  • Reply
    Melanie @ HappyBeingHealthy
    January 24, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Those bars look phenomenal and I’m LOVING the white chocolate drizzled on top. YUM!

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    January 24, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Ah yes, this is a familiar problem! I do a mix of winging recipes and planning them out, but even when I plan them out, half the time I inevitably forgot a thing or two. Whoops!

  • Reply
    Robyn @thereallife_RD
    January 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    these look amazing and a snack you can throw in your bag without worrying it will get crushed or melt. pinning now!!
    I’m a total winger [is that a word?] when it comes to recipes except for baking…I tried winging that and then realized measurements are kind of important. Have a fabulous weekend!!

  • Reply
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner
    January 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    That is awesome that you can be so creative on the fly! Happy accident because these bars look delicious! I write my ideas down on post it notes. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    January 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I think I literally pin every one of your recipes. These would be so good pre-workout or during a long-run, I love it!! Also can you teach me to be such an awesome food-stylist, food-photographer as you? I’d love it, thanks. You’re my blogger inspo.

    I usually half-prepare, half-wing. I, like you, think [wish] I lived in a grocery store so I end up not having something. I usually think about what I want to make, look at a bunch of recipes for inspiration, then wing it from there.

    • Reply
      Davida @ The Healthy Maven
      January 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      I’ll send you my “tips” in my next email. Also quinoa in a mug muffin <--you are my inspo!

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    January 25, 2014 at 12:16 am

    These are my kind of bars!!!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Yum, these bars look amazing! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    elle sees
    January 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    omg i’ll take a dozen to go, please! those look amazing and i’m not a big w.c. kinda gal. but a little drizzle and i’m IN

  • Reply
    Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
    February 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Haha! Love it! I’m the same way! But honestly, most of my “winging it” approaches turn out better than the ones I plan out! πŸ˜‰

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