Although I primarily use my iPad for recipes in the kitchen, I do have an actual wooden recipe box (handmade for me by my grandpa) and I spent several hours the summer before I left for college writing lots of recipes on index cards. Occasionally, when I want to bake something but don’t have anything specific in mind, I’ll shuffle through my recipe box and find an old favorite =). That’s what happened with these bars. The original recipe called for cherry pie filling, but since I didn’t have any on hand or any cherries to make my own from scratch, I started searching through the pantry looking for substitutions. I pretty much went rogue at that point and decided to substitute raspberry jam plus a cream cheese layer for the pie filling ;). I wasn’t sure how it would work, but the jam layer and the cream cheese layer kind of melted together and the bars ended up tasting a lot like a raspberry cream cheese danish. I think this version might even be better than the original! Enjoy!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars
for the bars:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raspberry jam

for the cream cheese filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

for the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1-2 tbsp milk

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined.
2. Spread about half the batter into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with raspberry jam. (I like to kind of swirl the cream cheese mixture and the jam together with a knife.) Drop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
4. Combine the glaze ingredients; drizzle over the top. Cut into bars.
*loosely adapted from Taste of Home

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