Italian Cheese Bars

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

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  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 18)
  • 1 15 ounce container fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped candied cherries
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
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.
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) 51.51, vit. C (mg) 0.59, sodium (mg) 124, calcium (mg) 111.06, iron (mg) 0.54, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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