Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Nothing brings a recipe to life like fresh lemons! For a change of pace from the standard Southern-style lemon bars, you need to look no further! This recipe is easy and the taste is divine. I have also made this with Splenda® and low-fat cream cheese and they were just as wonderful.

Nothing brings a recipe to life like fresh lemons! For a change of pace from the standard Southern-style lemon bars, you need to look no further! This recipe is easy and the taste is divine. I have also made this with Splenda® and low-fat cream cheese and they were just as wonderful.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half (or milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Instructions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pecans or walnuts, brown sugar, and butter. Using your hands, blend ingredients together until the dough is crumbly.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture.*
  3. Spread the remaining crumb mixture in pan. Bake the crust for 12 to 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to a rack.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream cheese, granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg in a mixing bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of bowl occasionally.
  5. Pour the cream cheese lemon mixture over the hot baked crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture evenly over lemon cheese layer. Bake for 25 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Cut into bars. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or store in the freezer.

Notes:
*If desired, use all of the crumbs in the bottom crust and top the chilled bars with sifted confectioners' sugar just before serving.