Jan 25, 2012

Cheesecake & Chocolate Oat Bars


You know those moments where you just want to bake and bake right now?  I had one of those moments with these bars.  I needed that kitchen therapy and I definitely got it! These are not terribly labor intensive but they do take a little time.  The oat crust, which is both chewy and a little crisp, is prepared and baked and then has to cool.  The chocolate chips are spread on top of the hot oats so that they melt.  Once all of that is cool, the cheesecake layer is slathered on, along with reserved oat mixture and it goes back into the oven.  Then the whole thing has to cool and that takes time. *sigh*  These really are better after they've been chilled so keep that in mind.

Other than the time it takes to make these, they really are super easy and very delicious.  For some reason, the addition of oats to a baked good makes me feel just a little less guilty about eating it.  ;)  I know that's a backwards thought but hey, whatever works.

A quick note about the chocolate.  I had partial bags of dark chocolate, semi-sweet, and milk chocolate morsels so I used a combination.  The combo was great but any kind of chocolate on it's own would be fabulous, too!

Cheesecake & Chocolate Oat Bars
Printable Version

2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ cups quick-cooking oats
1¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
~12 oz. chocolate chips, any variety
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir in the melted butter. Reserve 1½ cups of mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
 3. Spread the chocolate chips over the hot oats and allow to melt slightly. Spread carefully with an offset spatula and allow to cool completely. (Pan can be placed in hot oven for a minute to help the chocolate chips melt.)
4. While oat mixture cools, place the cream cheese and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
6. Spread cheesecake mixture over cooled chocolate layer and top with reserved oat mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cream cheese layer is set. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

heavily adapted from Bake or Break, originally from Taste of the South

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