MELBA'S SWAP SHOP
GEORGE CUT DOWN THE TREE
DEAR MELBA: Since February is the month of George Washington's birthday, and he had “activity with a cherry tree” while a child that almost got him in trouble, I thought you might like this recipe for Cherry Cheese Bars to celebrate his birthday. Please credit the original to Loretta Martin, of Branson, Mo., even though I've made a few changes.
CHERRY CHEESE BARS
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup shortening
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flake coconut
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In large mixing bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture is fine. Add 1/2-cup of the walnuts and the coconut. Mix well. Remove 1/2-cup of the mixture and set aside.
Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. When crust mixture is lightly browned, spread with cream cheese mixture. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove and spread cherry pie filling over top.
In small bowl, combine remaining 1/2-cup chopped walnuts and reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle evenly over pie filling. Cool. Cut in 24 bars.