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Almond Cheesecake Bars

I love recipes that use almond, and almond extract is so fabulous! I always have a can of roasted almonds in the pantry for snacking on too. I also love cheesecake, but making and storing a big cheesecake takes time and space. Cheesecake bars, on the other hand, are quick and they store beautifully, taking up very little room in the fridge.

My friend Tami, over at Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk, hosts the Cookie Carnival each month. It’s a fun, no stress baking event that offers up a cookie recipe each month and anyone can participate. This month, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Tami chose some lovely green Walnut Mint Bars from Hershey.

I know what you’re thinking. Umm, yoo hoo! Amanda! These aren’t green!

There are six people in this house, five of which don’t like mint flavored desserts. So I decided to change mine to suit our tastes. Instead of walnuts, I used slivered almonds that I chopped up, and I substituted almond extract for the mint extract. And of course, I simply didn’t use the green food coloring and subbed butter for their margarine. I also had to use more vanilla wafer cookies because the generic brand that I bought had considerably small cookies, about 2/3 the size of Nilla Wafers.

The verdict? Delicious! At first though, I really wasn’t too sure. I let them cool to room temperature, then I chilled them in the fridge for a couple of hours. They were good, but nothing special. It wasn’t until they had sat overnight in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to really shine, and the cream cheese to firmly set, that these bars went from “ok” to delicious. :)

One last adjustment. The recipe says to drizzle the chocolate on first, then chill, then cut the bars. However, their professionally styled photograph shows otherwise. They cut them first and then drizzled, so that’s what I did as well.

If you love that almond flavor and are a cheesecake fan, you will enjoy these!

I changed these considerably, including the directions, so if you want to see the original and give it a try, visit Hershey’s for the recipe.

Almond Cheesecake Bars
printable version

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1-1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed)
1 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Chocolate Drizzle

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with foil, this will allow you to lift the bars out and onto a cutting board once cooled. Do not grease the pan or the foil.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat; stir in crumbs, walnuts, sugar and cocoa. Press firmly on bottom of foil lined 13x9x2 baking pan.

Use food processor to beat cream cheese, remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cornstarch together until fluffy. Gradually add in sweetened condensed milk then egg, and the almond extract. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until center is set. Don’t be concerned if there are bumps or bubbles, they will settle as it cools. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Lift cooled block out of pan using the sides of the foil as handles and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars. Drizzle each bar with chocolate and let chocolate set.

Hint: if you drizzle right after they come out of the refrigerator, the chocolate will set quickly, using the chill from the bars themselves.

To store, layer between wax paper in a plastic container in the refrigerator.


Me

27 Responses to Almond Cheesecake Bars

  1. 1
    Anonymous says:

    These sound delicious and I wish I didn't have to work today so that I could make some right now. Thanks so much for sharing your new, improved recipe!

    Thank you too for the "printable version" link. That rocks!!

    Martha

  2. 2
    cookies and cups says:

    You had me at cheesecake! These look delicious and pretty!

  3. 3
    Tasty Eats At Home says:

    Either version sounds delicious – yours are so pretty!

  4. 4
    Susan says:

    Can I just tell you something about Sweetened Condensed Milk? I LOVE IT! It could be a dessert in and of itsself. It should be a food group. I'm going to make this today. It looks so yummy and I just happen to have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks again Amanda for your super recipes.

  5. 5
    jose manuel says:

    Maravilloso postre. Me encanta. Un saludo

  6. 6
    biz319 says:

    I would take almond over mint any day of the week – yum!

  7. 7
    Sue Sparks says:

    I'm like you..I pretty much love all things almond(and almond extract)! These look fabulous! I'm going to hook up with the Cookie Carnival… Sounds fun!

  8. 8
    Marthe says:

    Gorgeous!!! I'm not a huge fan of minty desserts/cookies/anything either….

  9. 9
    Amanda says:

    Martha – Thanks! I'm glad that the printable version is helpful!! :)

    Susan – thanks! Now if only I felt that way about evaporated milk :-/

    Thanks for all your wonderful comments everyone :) Makes for a very nice end of the work day!

  10. 10
    Michelle says:

    So pretty and anything with a chocolate drizzle is my favorite!

  11. 11
    5 Star Foodie says:

    Super delicious with almond flavor and chocolate drizzle!

  12. 12
    Lauryn says:

    These sound AMAZING and I am looking to use up some of the sweetened condensed milk I have laying around! YUM! Your changes are awesome!

  13. 13
    The Damsel In DisDress says:

    Holy cow! Those look AMAZING! Must try.

  14. 14
    Heather Davis says:

    Almond cheesecake bars! They look seriously yummy. Definitely prefer almond to mint. Could do with one right now as am really craving something sweet.

  15. 15
    Megan says:

    These sound delicious! I love cheesecake, vanilla wafers, and flavoring/smell of almond extract so these are sure to be right up my alley! Can't wait to try them!

  16. 16
    Barbara Bakes says:

    I think I'd like you version better too!

  17. 17
    Barbara @ moderncomfortfood says:

    Pretty as a picture and delicious looking, as your recipes always are. I would mainline anything cheese cake if I could. Thanks for yet another great recipe.

  18. 18
    Valerie says:

    Yummmm! Almond extract and chocolate. These would be gobbled up so quickly if I were around!

  19. 19
    Anne says:

    These were fantastic! I brought them to work, and they were gone in a snap. I did up the almond extract to 1t, so the almond flavor was quite pronounced but in a good way. Thanks for posting this.

  20. 20
    Ingrid says:

    Me, ME! I'm a cheesecake fan and almond lover!! Great job adapting the recipe. These sound much better than the original mint version and I like mint (just not more than almond).
    ~ingrid

  21. 21
    Amanda says:

    Thanks all!

    That's fabulous anne, wish I had some right now! :)

  22. 22
    NO REASON NEEDED says:

    Yours look like a cookbook work or art. They look wonderful. I so love mint and so I was all for this recipe.

    Glad to see you found a happy medium with the mint.

  23. 23
    Tiffiny Felix says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! :)

  24. 24
    ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ says:

    Ur almond cheese cake bars are…simply beautiful and utterly butterly delicious…i can feel the flavours shine thru on my taste buds as well:-)))
    And u have a lovley blog here too:-)))

  25. 25
    Tessa says:

    I too was thinking about different flavors for these bars as I was making them. Good to know it works out :-)

    The picture of your bars looks perfect! Glad you enjoyed them!

  26. 26
    Elle says:

    I love the way you started with a fine recipe but changed it up in many ways for a stellar recipe…and good looking, too. Nice tip to cut first and drizzle the chocolate second.

  27. 27
    Amanda says:

    Thank you again everyone!

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