Italian Cheese Bars

These moist bars have the light texture and classic flavor of traditional Italian cheesecake.



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Ingredients
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    1/2  cup 
    butter or margarine
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    1 1/4  cups 
    finely crushed graham crackers (about 18)
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    1  15  ounce container 
    fat-free ricotta cheese
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    1   
    egg
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    1/4  cup 
    sugar
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    2   tablespoons 
    all-purpose flour
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    2   teaspoons 
    finely shredded orange peel
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    1   teaspoon 
    almond extract
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    1/2  cup 
    sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts
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    1/3  cup 
    chopped candied cherries
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    1/3  cup 
    golden raisins

Directions
1.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter or margarine in a 9x9x2-inch baking pan in the oven (about 6 minutes). Remove from oven. Stir crushed crackers into melted butter or margarine; press mixture firmly and evenly onto bottom of pan using a wooden spoon. Set aside.
2.
Combine the ricotta cheese, egg, sugar, flour, orange peel, and almond extract in a blender container or food processor bowl; blend or process until smooth. Carefully spread cheese mixture over crumb mixture. Combine the almonds or hazelnuts, cherries, and raisins; sprinkle over cheese layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour; cover and chill for 2 hours. Cut into bars.
Make Ahead Tip
  • Store cooled bars in tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 138, Fat, total (g) 7, chol. (mg) 26, sat. fat (g) 3, carb. (g) 13, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 5, vit. A (RE) 52, vit. C (mg) 1, sodium (mg) 124, calcium (mg) 111, iron (mg) 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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