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Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars - a super delicious bar cookie with a oatmeal cookie crust, filling of cream cheese and cranberry sauce and a oatmeal crumble topping. These are really, really delicious!

Southeastern Massachusetts, where we live, is known for having an abundance of cranberry bogs!  There are several cranberry bogs not too far from where we live, and because October is the peak of cranberry harvesting season around here, it’s not unusual for us to be driving behind a truck that is loaded up with beautiful, vibrant red just-harvested berries!

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars - A Family Feast

If you ever have a chance to see cranberries harvested – please take advantage of it as it’s quite an interesting process to watch!  While some cranberries (those that are sold in bags at the supermarket as whole berries) are dry-harvested with a mechanical picker that combs the berries off their vines, most of the bogs around our house use a ‘wet harvest’ method (these berries are used for juices, sauces and other processed cranberry foods).  A wet harvest first involves flooding the bogs with water; then the berries are loosened from their vines so that they float to the surface.  Finally the berries are corralled to one side of the bog and vacuumed up out of the water and into trucks to be taken to be processed.  (You can read more about the harvesting process here.)

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars - a super delicious bar cookie with a oatmeal cookie crust, filling of cream cheese and cranberry sauce and a oatmeal crumble topping. These are really, really delicious!

With an abundance of cranberries nearby, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that we love to cook and bake with this fruit, and these Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars are one of our favorite ways to enjoy the sweet-tart taste of cranberries!

These oatmeal cranberry cheesecake bars start with a sweet oatmeal cookie bottom crust.  Then a layer of cream cheese filling that has been flavored with hints of lemon and vanilla is added.  Next, whole-berry cranberry sauce is carefully spread on top of the cream cheese layer, and finally, an oatmeal crumb topping is sprinkled on before baking.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars - a super delicious bar cookie with a oatmeal cookie crust, filling of cream cheese and cranberry sauce and a oatmeal crumble topping. These are really, really delicious!

When my husband Jack first saw me making this recipe he said, “Oh YUM! All of my favorite things in one dessert!”  And he’s right – the marriage of oatmeal, cranberries and cheesecake all in one delicious cookie bar is truly a winning combination!  They are moist and sweet plus a touch of tartness from the cranberries, and the sweet oatmeal crumble is the perfect light topping!  I hope you love these oatmeal cranberry cheesecake bars as much as we do!

This recipe was adapted from one originally published in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  Marta Chavatel of Timonium, Maryland won $400 in the magazine’s monthly recipe contest in the Best Brownies and Bar Cookies category.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
 
Serves: 24-36 pieces
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups quick-cooking oatmeal
  • ¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 16-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Add the softened butter to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the crumb mixture and set aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour the remaining crumbs into the prepared baking dish and press evenly into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, in the same bowl of the stand mixer, cream the softened cream cheese and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Also while the crust is baking, in a small bowl, combine the cranberry sauce and cornstarch and mix thoroughly.
  6. When the crust is done baking, remove from the oven and pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust. Then spoon the cranberry mixture evenly over the cream cheese mixture, spreading gently with the back of a spoon so that it is evenly coated. Then sprinkle the reserved oatmeal crumbs over the top of the cranberry mixture.
  7. Bake for 40 or until completely set and very lightly golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate the baking dish for at least 3 hours so that the bars can firm up.
  9. Once chilled, cut into bars and serve.

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  1. Oh my! This sounds like a fabulous dessert bar! Love all the flavors!
    Kathy recently posted…Sweet Dinner RollsMy Profile

  2. These look amazing Martha! Can’t wait to make them!

  3. What a tasty combo! It would be so fun so see cranberry harvesting live in person. These bars look phenomenal 🙂
    Becca @ Crumbs and Chaos recently posted…BBQ Turkey Sliders with Spicy Cranberry SpreadMy Profile

  4. I love those red gleaming berries you have in the background of your bars. They look and sound very yummy.
    [email protected] in pyjamas recently posted…Halloween Worm Mud Cake (1st Year Anniversary)My Profile

  5. What an absolutely delicious cheesecake bar! They sound amazing!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted…Broccoli Cheese SoupMy Profile

  6. Ok, I admit. When I first saw the pictures of harvesting cranberries I thought of those oceanspray commercials. But then started reading and thought it would be super cool to see. How fun! 🙂 Loving this recipe by the way, pinning and totally trying!

    • Thanks Krista! Those commercials you see are really what it’s like – maybe without the comic relief of the two guys in the commercial! Ocean Spray’s corporate headquarters are actually not that far from where we live… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  7. evelyn fletcher :

    I live in Australia and have only excess to dried cranberries is there any way I can bake the oatmeal cranberry cheesecake bars

    • Hi Evelyn – If canned cranberries are unavailable you could try soaking the dry cranberries in hot water to plump them up and then drain and sprinkle them over the cheesecake mixture (you won’t need the corn starch with the dried cranberries). It may not be exactly as the original recipe since you won’t have the sauce but the cranberries in the middle cheesecake layer will still be delicious! Or – if you have access to other canned fruits, you might be able to adapt the recipe by replacing the cranberries with a different fruit. Hope the helps and please let us know it comes out!

  8. These look great! Do you think it would work to use homemade cranberry compote in place of the canned cranberry sauce? My concern is that it probably isn’t as thick as the canned variety. I’ve only seen canned jellied cranberry sauce so I am not sure of the texture of canned whole berry sauce. Thanks for your help! Delicious looking treats!

    • Hi Mary – I definitely think it would work! The canned stuff is firmer than prepared Jello so if your compote is softer or more liquidy you could add an additional teaspoon of cornstarch. Let us know how it comes out! Thanks!

  9. I tried this recipe last week and realized, too late, that a critical ingredient is missing from the crumb mixture for the base and topping; and the cream cheese layer, for that matter: salt. I always make a cupcake sized tester for myself when baking an untried recipe for an event and this sample tasted quite bland. I quickly reviewed the ingredient list and realized there was no salt! Well, it was too late to start over, so I sprinkled a little table salt over the top and added a powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze drizzle because the bars really needed help. The glaze worked. The group loved the bars and I’ve made a note to add at least a half teaspoon of salt to the crust/topping mixture and to the cream cheese filling, as well. You might consider doing the same…just a thought.

  10. This recipe looks amazing. One question-how would I use fresh cranberries in this recipe? I have so many cranberries in the freezer and no whole cranberry sauce. Thanks!

  11. Dorothy Boucher :

    talk about yummy, and so easy to put together, love it ‘ thanks for share 🙂 @tisonlyme143

  12. Can I add raisins?

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