I’ve had the urge to remake my Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars for quite some time now. The light, creamy lemon filling paired with a buttery oatmeal cookie crust is just too good to pass up. They easily trump any chocolate/peanut butter dessert I’ve ever made. And if you know me at all, that says A LOT!
But today’s bars are a little different than those gems. Rather than using sweetened condensed milk as the base for the filling, I made up a quick cheesecake filling using the plethora of cream cheese hoarding my fridge.
The cheesecake filling is actually quite simple. I creamed together sugar, reduced fat cream cheese, eggs, and the zest + juice of two lemons. I studded the cheesecake filling with fresh blueberries to give each bite a sweet burst of flavor. I suggest sticking to fresh berries in this recipe. Frozen berries will not stay intact and may leak into the cheesecake layer.
I made sure to make EXTRA of the cheesecake layer. It is quite thick because I prefer a looooot of cheesecake with my crust, thankyouverymuch.
The thick cheesecake filling sits on an oatmeal cookie crust. A perfectly buttery oatmeal cookie crust made from a pouch of Betty Crocker premade oatmeal cookie mix. I was short on time, so Betty came to the rescue. If you can’t find this oatmeal cookie mix anywhere in stores or prefer to make your own, you may certainly whip up the oatmeal cookie crust from scratch. I’ve included that recipe below.
And those streusel crumbs on top? That’s actually pieces of the oatmeal cookie crust layer. What I loved most about these bars… other than the taste… is that I didn’t have to make a separate crust and a separate streusel topping. It’s all the same oatmeal cookie dough– pressed at the bottom of the pan and sprinkled on top. An oatmeal cookie sandwich, if you will.
You’ll find it hard to resist picking off the little oatmeal cookie crumbs on top. I know I did…
So go ahead, make something a little different to wow your friends and family. I know these would be the first thing I pick out on a dessert table.
Makes 25 bars
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 pouch Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie mix*
- 2 large eggs
- 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp grated lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
- 1.5 cups fresh blueberries, not frozen
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Generously spray parchment paper/foil with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using a fork or electric mixer. Stir in 1 egg until mixture is crumbly.
- Press half of oatmeal cookie dough into bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Reserve the other half of the dough for topping.
- While cookie crust is baking, prepare cheesecake filling. With an electric handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 egg, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest together until creamy. Make sure there are no cream cheese chunks hiding, you want the mixture nice and smooth. Remove cookie crust from oven and reduce heat to 325F. Pour the lemon cheesecake filling over the hot cookie crust. Sprinkle the blueberries overtop and gently press them down. Crumble the reserved oatmeal cookie dough over the blueberries.
- Bake for 35 minutes until the top is lightly browned. The cheesecake filling will slightly jiggle in the center. Allow bars to cool completely and chill for at least 3 hours before cutting. I chilled mine in the refrigerator overnight. I highly suggest chilling them for up to 12 hours, which allows the bars to be cut easily.
*See recipe below for homemade oatmeal crust recipe.
Recipe source: sallysbakingaddiction.com
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If you can’t find the Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix, use this from-scratch oatmeal cookie base recipe instead.
Omit 1 of the eggs and the butter in the recipe above.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
In a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until combined. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and oats. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix to combine. Continue with step three in the recipe above.
I have a feeling you’d love my Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars too.
Or a new muffin recipe: Gingerbread Muffins with Sweet Lemon Glaze. Delish.