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Cranberry Cheese Bars

Patricia Deml of Medford, Wisconsin, received second-place honors in our February 2009 “Berry Special Cranberry Treats” contest with this recipe (pictured at right). “This Cranberry Cheese Bar recipe is out of this world. It would make a great dessert for Valentine’s Day,” she wrote.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, 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 F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, 3/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed) and butter; mix until crumbly. Reserving 1-1/2 cups crumb mixture, press remainder firmly on bottom of baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth; stir in lemon juice. Spread mixture evenly over prepared crust.

In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cornstarch; stir in the whole berry cranberry sauce. Spoon the cranberry sauce mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Chill. Cut into bars. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

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