With July 4th only a week away, picnic/potluck season is in full swing. Here's a yummy recipe for a dessert that's easy to make and highly transportable to your summer gatherings. If you're leery of cheesecake recipes, don't be afraid to try this one. As long as you follow it step by step, the end result should be refreshing bars that are sweet and tangy, with a fresh lemony bite.
Although the recipe says to garnish with lemon peel and powdered sugar, I did neither. Instead, I threw a few fresh blueberries on top and called it a day. These would be wonderful served with any fresh fruit. A few low fat ingredients are used, making this a relatively healthy dessert ~ although you'd never know it from the taste.
Creamy Lemon Squares
Ingredients: 20 Reduced Fat Vanilla Wafers, finely crushed 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold margarine 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel Cheese, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 2 Tbsp. flour 3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder 2 tsp. powdered sugarDirections:
PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Combine wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar in bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
MEANWHILE, beat Neufchatel cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and 2 Tbsp. flour; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon peel, the lemon juice and baking powder; pour over crust.
BAKE 25 to 28 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. lemon peel just before serving. Makes about 16 squares.