I really try hard to plan what I am baking, but I have to admit that I am often swayed at the last minute by something that I see online. I saw this recipe last Friday, and I knew that it would be the recipe for this week. I love a good bar cookie. This is a cream cheese bar cookie, which I haven’t made in a while, and it contains chocolate chips and caramel bits. Caramel bits are one of my favorite ingredients and I always try to keep them in the cupboard, as they can be a little hard to find at the store.
Unless I get home right on time from work, it can be a tight timeline for me to get bar cookies baked, cooled, cut, and photographed. These bar cookies chill even a little longer because they contain cream cheese and it sets up better when chilled. I decided to make these the night before, so that they would have plenty of time to chill. Good thing I did, because I didn’t get to leave work on time!
Although these are a layered bar cookie, they come together with two main steps: the crust and then everything else. The oat base with the cream cheese filling is the perfect canvas for any flavor that you wanted. I can envision these bars with any combination of chips or nuts or even some dried fruit. Cut these when they are cold, but with the caramel bits, make sure they come to room temperature before serving. Ice cold caramel is hard on your teeth! These are very tasty and contain some great flavors, you don’t want to miss out.
Chocolate Chip Caramel Crumble Bars
2 cups flour
1 ¼ cups oats
¾ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Caramel Bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, oats, and brown sugar. Add the butter to the bowl and mix on medium until the mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of crumbs for the topping and set aside. Press the remaining mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake for 15 minutes. Make the topping while the crust is baking.
In the same mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Once you remove the baked crust from the oven, pour the cream cheese mixture over the hot crust. Sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips and then the caramel bits. Crumble the reserved crumb mixture over the top of the bars.
Bake for 30-35, until the bars are light brown around the edges. Allow to cool for one hour on a wire rack and then refrigerate several hours before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe from A Family Feast