It's the holiday season, and business is booming, as evidenced by my lack of recent blog posts. My apologies to my readers...
Here's a wonderful dessert recipe for the holidays - perfect for a holiday gift, or as party food!
Italian Cheese Bars
* * 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
1. Heat oven to 350 degree 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. Makes 20.