Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Almond Cheese Bars Recipe

Another super simple, last minute dessert recipe that uses crescent rolls.  This is a variation of the basic Pillsbury recipe for sweet cheese delights which I first had at a holiday party.  These bars were the biggest hit of the dessert bar.  They beat all the other homemade holiday treats, hands down. 
Of course, I asked for the recipe, and I was surprised by the baker’s embarrassment and initial reluctance to share.  It was totally out of character.  After promising not to tell anyone, the truth was told.  Pop open a tub of crescents and coat with sweetened cheese mixture and some nuts and repeat.
Why is it that really good bakers are embarrassed by the occasional great tasting short cut recipe? 
I first made this recipe one night when I needed a last minute dessert.  Staring into my unusually empty refrigerator, I searched for an idea based on what I had at hand. I found Crescent rolls and cream cheese, but not much else.  Luckily, I remembered these bars and whipped them up in no time flat with a few minor adjustments.  I cut the recipe in half, omitted the egg and used almond slices in place of the pecans.  Worked like a charm and has been requested twice more since its first appearance.
So here is the recipe, only promise me you’ll keep its simplicity a secret.   

Almond Cheese Bars Recipe
Serves  9 or 10 bars                                         Prep Time:  5 minutes                                Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 package (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cans(8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 375°F
In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add vanilla; beat on low speed until blended.
Unroll can of dough into 1 large rectangle; press seams and perforations to seal.  Cut in ½ and press ½ onto bottom of ungreased 8*8  or 10*6 glass baking dish. Spread with cream cheese mixture.
In small bowl, mix almonds, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the pecan mixture over the cream cheese layer. Place other ½ of dough over filling.
Sprinkle remaining pecan mixture over top.
Bake at 375°F 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

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