Almond Cheesecake Bars

Anyone who follows my column knows that I’m partial to anything with almonds.

Recently, I wanted to come up with something a little different. I happened to have almonds and cream cheese on hand, so I thought maybe a cheesecake. 

I didn’t really want to go to that much trouble. So, without too much effort, I came up with this yummy taste treat. I altered my favorite crumble recipe, created a cream cheese filling and followed the instructions I use for assembling my lemon bars.

I surprised myself with how light and delicious they turned out, how easy they were to make and how quickly they disappeared. The recipe should have been doubled.

These are the perfect treat to take on a picnic, serve with brunch, share at your Christmas cookie exchange, have as a snack or serve for dessert.

Enjoy. They won’t last very long!

An important note before making these: You should to plan to make these a day in advance. They need at least six hours in the refrigerator to “set.”


Ingredients

1¼ cups gluten-free flour*
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sweet cream butter, softened
½ cup almonds
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar
¼ heavy cream
1½ teaspoons almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

*Flour Blend
1¼ cups sorghum flour
1¼ cups white rice flour
1 cup potato starch (not flour) 
1 cup sweet rice flour


Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper (optional). This makes it easier to remove the lemon bars once set.

Combine the flour, brown sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat on a low speed until well mixed and crumbly. Mix in almonds. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.

Press the remaining mixture in the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, cream and extracts butter in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat at a low speed until smooth and well blended.

Spread the filling in the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the filling and lightly pat into the filling. Place back in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the filling will set. 

Cool completely, overnight in the refrigerator. Once cooled, lift from pan and cut into bite-sized pieces. Keep refrigerated until serving.


Ellen's Tips

For clean and professional looking cuts, use a large sharp, flat-edged knife. Press down gently but firmly. When the knife cuts through, pull it out towards you. In between each cut, wipe your knife clean with a damp cloth.