Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Apricot Bars

I am revisiting a favorite of mine. I have no self-control when I make these bars. In my mind I think, “OK, it is just better when they are gone so they are not around to tempt me”…then I proceed to finish them off. I know, I’m a little nuts when it comes to sweets! Make these bars with dried apricots, dried cranberries, dates, raisins, or a mixture, change up the combination with different chips too. How about raisins and cinnamon chips? Oh no, now I need to whip those up, I better make a plan for giving them away or my jeans won’t fit.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Apricot Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1½ cups quick or old-fashioned oats
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice, divided
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup white chips
1 cup chopped dried apricots (can use dried cranberries, dates, raisins, etc.)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line 13 x 9 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy.  Mix in flour, oats, lemon zest, and 1 tsp lemon juice until crumbly.  Reserve 2 cups of mixture.  Press remaining mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk and remaining 1 tsp lemon juice.  Pour cream cheese mixture over hot crust, sprinkle mini chocolate chips, white chips, and chopped dried apricots. Sprinkle with reserved flour-oat mixture and gently pat down.  Bake for additional 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set.  Remove from pan and cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Grab foil and remove from pan.  Peel foil down from sides and cut into desired size bars. Enjoy the whole pan or share with others!

If you are interested in Demarle bakeware and kitchen tools such as the Silpat & Perforated Baking Sheet please visit mydemarleathome.com/kristenparker or simply click on the Demarle at Home logo below.

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