Cranberry Cheese Bars
A layer of cranberries brighten up these cream cheese bars. Miniature candy-coated chocolates festively dot the buttery crust and crumb topping.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar, divided use
1 3/4 cups miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces, divided use
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
- Combine flour, oats, butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to make mixture resemble coarse crumbs. Remove 1 1/2 cups of mixture from bowl and combine with 1 1/4 cups candy-coated chocolate pieces; set aside. Add remaining 1/2 cup chocolate pieces to mixture in bowl and stir until evenly distributed. Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled crust.
- Combine cranberry sauce, cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Spoon evenly over cream cheese. Sprinkle reserved topping over cranberry mixture and bake for 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Cool at room temperature. Refrigerate before cutting. Store in refrigerator tightly covered.
Makes 24 bars.
Tip: You may substitute other types of berry sauces, jams or preserves for the cranberry sauce, just as Margaretha of Sweden did. She used lingonberry jam, and was so pleased with the bars, that she took the above photo and shared it with CooksRecipes.com.
Photograph courtesy of Margaretha, Sweden.