25 days of christmas treats - day one - cheesecake cranberry bars

There is a chill in the air, the leaves have all fallen and tomorrow we light the first candle on the Advent wreath. Yes indeed it's that time again. Time to break out the baking pans and the cookie cutter. Time to clear the counters and prepare the bread dough. 

 25 Days of Christmas Treats has arrived. For the next 25 days I will be posting recipes that are easy, sweet and can be made to share this Christmas Season. There will be cakes, quick breads, candies, cookies and more. I promise to use ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store.

 There is nothing better than a homemade Christmas and I love nothing more that creating something spectacular in the kitchen. 

So are you ready? 

To start of this years extravaganza we once again visit the lowly cranberry. Last year we kicked things off with a fabulous Glazed Cranberry Loaf with Crystalized Ginger. This was one of my favorites from 2011. It was moist and had a fabulous flavor profile. I think I made about twelve loaves last year for friends and neighbors, it was that good. 

When I started collecting recipes for this years treats, I knew I wanted more cranberry recipes. I love this little berry. It's tart little gal and when combined with a little sugar and citrus it blossoms into deliciousness. Add in a little cheesecake and you have a bonanza of awesome. 

Allow me to introduce you to our first recipe: Cheesecake Cranberry Bars

These tasty little numbers were quite the hit at hubby's office. They have a crumble topping which is my personal crack. Cannot get enough of that stuff. Sweet and crunchy awesomeness. Then there is the cheesecake layer topped with the tart cranberry sauce. So good my friends, so very, very good. Finally we have a shortbread bed that everything lays on that will make you sing for joy. I promise you will be making these more than once. 

I am so excited for this years baking adventures. I hope you can join me for the next 25 days. If your looking for more baking inspiration head over to my Recipe Catalog. I have moved the holiday treats to the top of the page. 

So let's bake shall we! 

Cheesecake Cranberry Bars
recipe from Gooseberry Patch 

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups long-cooking oats, uncooked
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, softened
12 oz package white chocolate chips
8 oz package cream cheese, softened
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
14 oz can whole-berry cranberry sauce 
(or I used 1 1/2 cups of leftover homemade cranberry sauce)
2 Tbs cornstarch

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, and brown sugar; cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in chocolate ships; reserve 2 1/2 cups of crumb mixture for topping.  With floured fingers, press remaining mixture into greased 13" x 9" baking ban; set aside.

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy.  Add condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla; mix until smooth.  Pour cream cheese mixture over crust. Combine cranberry sauce and corn starch; spoon over cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden.  Let cool and cut into bars.  Makes 2 dozen.  

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