blueberry cheesecake bars with oatmeal cookie crust


I think if I tried to explain my love for oatmeal, some might think I’m a little strange.  Or perhaps that I need to broaden the scope of my breakfast options.  I love it so much that I order it if its on the breakfast menu at a restaurant.  What’s not to love about it?  It’s creamy, warm, sweet, and filling.  I don’t limit myself to only eating oats in oatmeal either.  I love oat bars, granola made with oats, and especially oatmeal cookies.  Big, thick, and chewy oatmeal cookies.  So when I saw this recipe for cheesecake bars with a oatmeal cookie crust, I was sold.

Admittedly, the bars are fairly high maintenance.  They make lots of bowls messy, require you to clean your electric mixer in the middle of it all to make the crust and the filling, and you even have to whip our your food processor for these bad guys.  But all of these pain-in-the-butt steps are so worth it.  The lemon blueberry cheesecake filling is light and sweet and my favorite part, the oatmeal cookie crust, was just my vision of the perfect oatmeal cookie – thick and chewy.  

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

crumb topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed

oatmeal cookie crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups old fashioned oats

cheesecake filling:
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries

Directions:

To make the crumb topping: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Add butter and pulse until crumbly.  Refrigerate while you make the other layers.

To make the oatmeal cookie crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 13×9″ baking dish with foil and grease with cooking spray.  

In a large bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and beat with electric mixer until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the edges of the bowl between additions.  Then add vanilla and mix to combine.  In separate medium bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Then slowly add the dry ingredients into butter mixture, mixing until well combined.  With a wooden spoon, add in the oats and mix to combine.  Press oat mixture into bottom of prepared pan.  Set aside. 

To make the cheesecake filling: beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between additions.  Then add the lemon juice and vanilla, and beat to combine.  Stir in blueberries, then pour filling over crust making sure it is spread out evenly.  Lastly, sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the cheesecake filling.  Bake for 45 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 375 and bake 10 minutes longer.  If your crust has not browned nicely, you can turn on the broiler and cook for 5 more minutes (make sure to keep an eye on it!)  

Cool at room temperature for an hour, then place in refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.  Lift bars out of baking dish and cut into squares.  Enjoy!   

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