I’ve had this recipe longer than I can remember. I like to make it for Valentine’s Day and Christmas. The pretty bars also look festive for a party or shower.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
- Additional maraschino cherries, halved
- Place the flour, brown sugar and butter in a food processor; cover and process until fine crumbs form. Stir in walnuts. Set aside 3/4 cup for topping.
- Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until set.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa until smooth. Add the egg, milk and vanilla; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Cut into bars; top each with a cherry half. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 15 bars.
Originally published as Chocolate-Cherry Cheesecake Bars in Country February/March 2008, p49
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