Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars

I've missed my blog, so while my kids are being entertained by a dog-themed Disney Christmas movie I figured I'd post my most recent Christmas treat. My search for new Christmas cookie recipes lead me to the Food Network website a few weeks ago and somehow I stumbled upon this recipe from Anne Burrell. I like her a lot. How could you not with her fun, spiky hair?? Plus she's worked with some great chefs at some great restaurants.

Once I saw this recipe I couldn't wait to make them. I made sure I picked up everything I needed for them the next time I was at the store after seeing the recipe. I decided earlier this week that my mom and I needed a normal day doing normal Christmastime stuff so we should make Christmas cookies. Of course we ended up doing a bunch of stuff around the house and with the kids, so it didn't work out exactly as I'd planned, but I did make these and those peanut butter cookies where you put the Hershey Kiss on top of them when they come out of the oven. Since everyone knows that recipe, I figured this one was more worth sharing, even though you could very easily find it yourself on the Food Network website. I'm just enabling I guess...making it easier for everyone to discover these.

Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell, from

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pea-sized pieces, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (11-ounce) bag butterscotch chips
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drape a 9 by 13-inch pan with overlapping pieces of aluminum foil, creating handles for easy removal. Butter the paper, and reserve.

In a food processor add the flour, oats and brown sugar and pulse to combine. Add the 2 sticks of butter, the cinnamon and the butterscotch chips. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture forms clumps when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, reserve the other half. Bake in the preheated oven just until slightly golden and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Beat together the cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon zest and juice and vanilla in an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or with an electric hand mixer until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Spread evenly over the baked and cooled oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle the remaining half of the oatmeal mixture over the cream cheese. Bake until the top is golden, about 40 minutes.

Cool and chill before cutting. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and using the foil handles, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares with a sharp knife and serve.

Call yourself a superstar!!!


Now, don't be like me and forget the part about buttering the pan and just assume that since there are two sticks of butter it won't be a problem. Really it wasn't too bad, but I did have to yank on the foil to get them out of the pan. The only thing I changed about this was decreasing the amount of lemon zest. I thought with the juice of a lemon and the zest from a lemon, that would give me more lemon flavor than I wanted. So I juiced the lemon and then zested maybe a quarter of a lemon. I'm not a huge lemon fan, so I didn't want there to be too much lemon flavor, especially since I LOVE butterscotch, so I wanted that to stand out more.

These are AMAZING. I'm having a hard time keeping myself from eating the entire batch. My friend Jen ran to my house yesterday and was kind enough to sample these for me. She approved. As do my kids, the husband, my mom, and me. They were really easy to make too. Dry ingredients in the food processor, wet ingredients in the stand mixer. I skipped putting the dry stuff once blended into a separate bowl--why dirty an extra bowl when I could just grab it out of the food processor bowl? These may in fact be my new favorite Christmas cookie. I'm making the husband's favorite today, then we figure we'll have a taste test in case there's a new favorite to be declared in our house.

Dry ingredients. I forgot to take a picture of the wet ingredients or as I was assembling the bars. Cut me some was 10:00 at night, and I was wrapping Christmas presents.

Mmmmm...container of bars!

Mmmmm...close up of bar!

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