There isn’t much to say about these creamy, yet crunchy, sweet, yet salty and incredibly yummy bars except that they are terrific. They are lovely and simple, and I will be marking this one in my recipe collection as one that is an all around pleaser and something I will probably make many times in the future.
I found this recipe on Bake or Break. The title is what initially drew me to the post, but then I saw the photo and knew I really had to make these bars.
I used pecans instead of cashews, and simply left out the apple butter because the only jar I found at the grocery store cost $8, and I wasn’t about to pour $8 onto a crumb crust and cover it with cream cheese. I am sure the apple butter would have been delicious, but they are wonderful without it as well. Ben’s dad really liked them and suggested maybe raspberry jam instead of the apple butter, which I think would add a great tartness to this sweet bar.
The bottom crust is thick. I would maybe take a little more of the crust mixture out and put it on top next time. The original recipe calls for removing 1 1/2 cups of the mixture…I would take out 1 3/4 or even 2 cups. After you bake the crust, you do not have to wait for it to cool completely. I waited about 10 minutes before pouring on the cream cheese mixture. If you plan to spread either apple butter or jam, you may want to wait a bit longer so that you don’t break the bottom crust while spreading.
The cream cheese filling is perfect as is; I wouldn’t change a thing. I did use one low-fat package of cream cheese, and am sure using all low-fat would be fine. So, I guess I did change one thing.
We ate these while they were still a little warm, and then the next day after chilling in the fridge. I liked them both warm and cool, although the butter is chilled so much straight from the fridge that I feel it needs a few minutes to warm up before the flavor of the butter can really be appreciated. Man, I love butter.
Cream Cheese & Oat Bars
From Bake or Break
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups chopped pecans (or cashews)
- 1 & 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided into 1 cup and 3/4 cup
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups prepared apple butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine flour, oats, pecans, 1 cup sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter. Reserve about 2 cups of mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Set pan on wire rack to cool.
- Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer. When mixture is creamy, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
- If using, spread apple butter over cooled crust.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over apple butter (or plain crust). Top with reserved oat mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cream cheese layer is set. Cool completely before cutting into bars.