Lemon White Chocolate Cranberry Bars, Food & Wine Giveaway, and a #TopChef Review!


Let’s talk TV, shall we?

Do you guys love #TopChef as much as I do? Because forreals, I am kinda sorta obsessed.

I’ve always thought about signing up for Top Chef, but it’s like, the ultimate cooking show. Those chefs are the real deal, and frankly, if there’s no cake mix around, I kind of get itchy. And fresh fish. Don’t make me tell you that story about how I fainted at the fish hatchery.

Anyway, in the most recent episode, the Chefs opened up with a really fun Quickfire featuring Reynolds wrap where their entire kitchen was wrapped in foil–including the ingredients. Immediately seeing this, I went into panic mode. Knowing me, I’d choose the STUPIDEST ingredients EVER, like fish sauce and cinnamon and green onions or something.

Kristen, who’s one of my favorite Cheftestants, made an awesome sponge cake using a makeshift pan out of foil. I was so impressed with some of the creativity in which the Chefs used the foil! It makes me feel like only foil-lining my pans is super lame when Bart straight-up made a colander. I meaaaan, Calphalon-who?

For the Elimination Challenge, the Chefs were asked to go head-to-head in a berry challenge, each team getting a different berry to feature in a dish. Gooseberries, tayberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries were the berries of choice–and they all made me drool over my lap. Seriously, berries are my, er, jam. I love them. And I instantly starting brainstorming all the berry recipes I’ve had on this here blog…(#TopChef here I come??)


Berries are kind of those perfect fruits that can go with almost anything. Whether it’s savory, sweet, rich, or light, they kind of transcend into every dish and every occasion. I mean, hello, popcorn, donuts, cupcakes, pie? They are a do-everything kinda super food, and the Chefs definitely proved it with their assortment of creative dishes (Lizzie’s cabbage roll with bacon–OH MY WORD). And Kristen’s fabulous dessert berry dish with the olive oil-soaked berries? Um, was she checking out my blog post about Blackberry Wine Olive Oil Cupcakes beforehand or what??

With the holidays practically here, Bravo and Food & Wine Magazine also want to spread some last-minute holiday cheer by giving away one lucky reader a one year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine! All you have to do is answer me this: What is your favorite holiday recipe(s?) Links welcome! A winner will be selected at random on Christmas Eve, 12/24. All entrants must provide a valid email 🙂

And since Christmas is approaching and cranberry is quite popular during this time of year, I decided to make a super easy, festive Christmas bar you can literally whip up in minutes. With less than five minutes prep, 20 minutes of bake time and a simple dusting of powdered sugar, you’ll be out of the kitchen and sticking your face into this pan of heavenly goodliness–or in the glossy pages of Food & Wine–in no time 🙂


Lemon White Chocolate Cranberry Bars, Food & Wine Giveaway, and a #TopChef Review!
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
I am in LOVE with using Craisins in desserts. The slightly sweet, slightly tart cranberries add a burst of color and texture to these sweet lemon bars!
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9" pan with foil, extending the sides over the edges of the pan. Mist very lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs and oil until blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips and Craisins to combine. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until the middle is set and the edges are lightly golden. Cool completely.
  3. Dust the tops of the cooled bars with powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into bars and serve!


DSC_0032These bars are moist, refreshing, and SO simple to whip up. I love the combination of the sweet lemon cake base with the creamy pockets of white chocolate and the pop of the tangy, tart cranberries studded throughout these chewy, delicious bars. Now if only cranberry had been a choice for the Top Chef berry challenge, I think I would have won, but then again, I am pretty biased 🙂

If you have yet to see this episode of #TopChef, be sure to check out this teaser clip from the episode. Remember, Top Chef airs on Wednesday nights at 10/9c on Bravo. You can also visit Bravotv.com for interviews, pictures, cast blogs, episode guides, and more!! Or live Tweet during the show at @BravoTopChef using the hashtag #TopChef. And if you’re super sad about the eliminated chefs, fear not! Top Chef is offering them another chance during their Last Chance Kitchen. You can tweet your favorite chef back into the competition–it’s easy!! (Psst, I’m voting for #savechefcj!!)

Preview Clip: Episode 7

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Bravo.

Happy Thursday!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I am part of Bravo and Top Chef’s A-Listers program in which I provide reviews of Top Chef. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. Jaan L of Tx says:

    My mother would make this cake made with jelly orange slices. It sounds crazy, but its the best thing to replace ‘fruit cake’. So sweet and moist, and orangey….love it. Happy Holidays

  2. Hee hee, I need to get my post up for Top Chef. Sigh!

  3. My Grandma’s pumpkin bread is my favorite!

  4. Hayley I like that you used lemon and cranberry together in these bars – such an interesting combo!

    I totally love Top Chef (although I looooved Top Chef Just Dessert even more)

    And just for fun, I think my favorite holiday recipe is for my salted caramels. Seriously to die for 🙂

  5. Our favorite holiday recipe is Grandma’s cranberry salad. What a fun giveaway!

  6. I always thought you’d be awesome on cupcake wars….me and my son watch that show all the time and I’m always like “what?!?! Bacon in a cupcake???”

  7. I love making Christmas cookies! Russian tea cakes might be my favorite.

  8. My favorite holiday recipe is Old Fashioned Chocolate Icebox Dessert – my family makes it every year for Christmas! Here is a link to the recipe:

  9. I love Top Chef but I never get to watch it anymore 🙁 So, I guess I will have more time to eat these yummy bars!

  10. My favorite is anything gingerbread!

  11. Oh my gosh, when I saw the title of this post I about died. Lemon, cranberries, and white chocolate are about the most perfect ingredients in my book. Holy cow do these sound awesome! As for my favorite holiday dessert, I love making little cheesecakes in muffin pans (I call them cheesecakies!) and flavoring/decorating them in various ways.

  12. I absolutely love Kristen! And she’s korean so I love her even more 🙂

    And these bars? Yeah, I need to get on these ASAP! They’d be so perfect for Christmas morning!

  13. this year, my fave holiday recipe was these

    Your lemon/cran/white choc bars are right up my alley based on my love of the cran bliss bars!

  14. My favorite Christmas recipe is definitely my mom’s cinnamon rolls. She always makes them Christmas morning.

  15. I’m also a Top Chef addict! My fav holiday recipe is baking chocolate crackle cookies.

  16. I’m also a Top Chef addict! My fav holiday recipe is for chocolate crackle cookies.

  17. Sausage balls, party mix, and Exquisite Chocolate Mint Sticks!

  18. I love every flavor going into these bars! OMG, yes, please; I think I could eat the entire pan. I think my favorite holiday recipe was my grandmother’s “Christmas pie.” Even using her recipe, no one in the family has been able to get it to turn out like she used to – I think she had that special grandma touch. 🙂

  19. Those look amazing. I love the combination of flavors 🙂

  20. Amanda Thompson says:

    I love English Toffee at Christmas!

  21. I like divinity.

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