Paula's Cranberry Cheese Bars

  • cookie photo2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 1/2 cups regular (not instant) oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 16-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Mix or cut margarine or butter into dry mixture with pastry blender until crumbly, reserving 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture. Press remainder firmly in bottom of greased 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in smaller bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth; stir in lemon juice. Spread evenly over prepared crust.

In small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cornstarch; stir in cranberry sauce. Spoon over cheese layer. Top with reserved crumbs.

Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and chill. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Times testing note: Though these keep well in the refrigerator, they taste better and are easy to cut if you let them come to room temperature.

Source: Paula Childress, Tampa.

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