Wednesday, July 12, 2017

CHERRY CHEESE BARS

CRUST:
1 cup walnut pieces, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan and set aside.

Coarsely chop 1/2 cup of the nuts for topping; set aside.

Finely chop the remaining walnuts.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter flavored shortening until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in the finely chopped walnuts and the coconut; mix well. Remove 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside. Press the remaining mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

FILLING:
2 pkgs (8-oz each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla
1 can (21-oz) cherry pie filling

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Spread over the hot baked crust and return pan to the oven. Bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the cherry pie filling over the cream cheese layer. Combine the reserved coarsely chopped walnuts and the reserved crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cherries. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. To serve, cut into 36 bars.

NOTE: You can make this recipe diabetic friendly by substituting 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for the brown sugar in the crust. For the filling, substitute an equal amount of Splenda granular for the granulated sugar. Substitute "No sugar added", Splenda sweetened cherry pie filling.

 Note: File Photo

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