Cranberry Streusel Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup  all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cups  old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 Cups  firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  salt
  • 6 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • One   8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 Cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2 Teaspoons  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 s  large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup  whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons  finely chopped toasted pecans

Writing under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, Benjamin Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanack on Dec. 19 in 1732. A best-seller in its time, the almanac contained information covering the weather, astronomy and astrology, a calendar, and humorous proverbs. Franklin was known to enjoy food, including cranberries, which he mentioned several times in his writings.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line an 8-inch metal baking pan with nonstick foil.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour the butter over the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until moist and crumbly. Set aside about 1 cup of the crumb mixture to use as a topping, then press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Stir in the egg whites just until mixed — do not overbeat. Pour into the pan over the crust. Drop spoonfuls of cranberry sauce over the cheese and then sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture and the pecans over the cream cheese and cranberries.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the cheese mixture is set and the topping is cooked through. Let cool completely in the pan, then chill for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve. Using the foil, lift from the pan and set on a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars.

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