The natural sweetness of dried cherries combined with the richness of cream cheese will make this less-than-15g-of-carbs treat an instant favorite.Ingredients
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar or 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar substitute*
2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup butter
2 8 ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1/3 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/3 cup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped dried cherries
10 tablespoons fat free frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, and almonds. using a mixer, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in cherries. Spread cream cheese mixture over partially baked crust.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until cream cheese layer is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours before serving.
Cut into bars to serve. Garnish individual servings with dessert topping and/or almonds, if desired. Store in refrigerator.
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