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Recipe: Almond Streusel-Cherry Cheesecake Bars


This recipe for Almond Streusel-Cherry Cheesecake Bars is just divine. We love the hint of almond in baked goods and this one fits the bill nicely. It’s quick and easy. It uses cookie mix which saves loads of time and pie filling which adds a nice burst of flavor.

These bar cookies travel well and are perfect for those church suppers and family get-togethers. Keeping my promise to post more recipes with little short-cuts to make life a bit easier… I found this recipe at Betty Crocker. It was a prize winning recipe in 2006. The taste is wonderful.

I do have a few tips though… some things that will definitely help.

TIPS


The recipe says to cut in the butter and cream cheese with the cookie mix when making the crust. You can use two knives (personally.. I find that to be a pain) or use a pastry cutter. I used my food processor… if you have a food processor… I definitely recommend using it… it cuts the butter and cream cheese perfectly…
resulting in a perfectly crumbled mixture…. just pulse a few times and it’s perfect.

When I have to cut in cold butter and/or cream cheese… I cut it into small cubes… placing the cubes in a small bowl then refrigerating it again for about 30 minutes… I do this because handling the butter warms it up and you really want cold butter when making a crumbly mixture like this.

Make sure you soften the 2 ½ (8 oz. pkgs) bars of cream cheese. make sure you keep the ½ bar for the crust in the fridge … you want that one firm.

I used the almond extract, which adds a fabulous flavor but I left out the sliced almonds because someone I made it for shouldn’t eat nuts…. the recipe was still perfect.


I always line my pan with Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Foil..I still spray the foil with cooking oil to ensure it definitely won’t stick. I like to use foil because this way I can lift the cake out and cut it on a cutting board… which is infinitely easier than trying to cut them in a pan.

The original recipe says to refrigerate it for about 2 hours before serving.. which I do agree with… this will set the cheesecake part up nicely…. however… I do recommend you remove it from the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before cutting… the crust gets pretty brittle when refrigerated, which makes cutting and eating it a bit difficult.

I hope you try these wonderful bar cookies!







Recipe: Almond Streusel-Cherry Cheesecake Bars

All you need:

For the Cookie Base and Topping

1 pouch (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
¼ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz. package) cream cheese
½ cup sliced almonds

Filling

2 ½ packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Line a 13x9 inch pan with non-stick foil. Spray the foil lightly with cooking oil. Set aside.







Cut the butter in half the long way and then cut it again in half to form 4 long strips. Cut the strips into cubes and place in a bowl. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and also place in the bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Dump the cookie mix into a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add the cold cubes of butter and cream cheese. Pulse several times until you have a crumbly mixture.

Alternative method: place the cookie mix into a large bowl and cut in the butter and cream cheese with a pastry blender or two knives until ccrumbly.

Reserve 1 ½ cups of the crumbly mixture for the topping.


Dump the remaining crumbly mixture into the prepared pan and press evenly over the bottom.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.



Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat the 2 ½ packages of cream softened cream cheese with the sugar, flour, almond extract and eggs on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.





Spread the mixture evenly over the baked cookie base.

Spread the pie filling evenly over the cream cheese mixture.

Sprinkle with the reserved crumbly mixture and almonds.



Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until light golden brown. cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for about 2 hours until chilled.




Remove from the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. Cut into bars.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

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