Sunday, January 6, 2013

Amaretto Cheesecake Bars

I've been testing a lot of recipes this week, and Friday I made some Amaretto cheesecake bars that were super simple, and really good.  I've adapted the recipe from one I had torn out of  a magazine, and now cant figure out what magazine it was....I wanted to give credit where credit is due, but unfortunately, this torn piece of magazine doesn't give me much to go on---what I will say is that the recipe is one I'll be making again, and probably subbing in other liqueurs to add different flavors. 

Amaretto Cheesecake Bars
Makes about 20

For the Crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat the inside of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar, and drizzle in the butter, stirring until the dough begins to come together.  
  3. Press evenly into the prepared pan, and bake for 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.   

For the Filling

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/4 cup Amaretto di Sarrono
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds

  1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth.  
  2. Blend in the eggs, one at t time, beating well after each addition.  Add the amaretto and almond extract, beating until smooth.  
  3. Spread the filling over the warm crust, and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.  
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is set.  
  5. Remove from the oven, and using a bench scraper, cut the cheesecake bars while they are hot.  
  6. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.  Serve the squares at room temperature.  These squares freeze beautifully for about 2 months in an airtight container.  

Variations:  Sub in Limoncello and lemon oil for the Amaretto and almond extract, or Grand Marnier and orange oil. 

Cook's Note: Why cut the bars when they are hot?  If you wait till they are cooled, you will pull up the hardened cheesecake batter, and lose some of it.  Cutting them when they are hot ensures that they will be uniform, without losing any of that delicious filling.  A bench scraper is a great way to cut them---this tool is one I wouldn't be without in my kitchen. 

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