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Chef Vikki's Cherry Almond Squares With Whipped Ricotta Topping
The chef kept all of the flavor of the original, but cut more than half the calories.
By Everyday Health Editors
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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30minutes
For the crust:
•Coconut oil spray
•2 cups almond meal
•¼ cup rice flour
•3 tablespoons flaxseeds
•1 tablespoon hemp seeds
•1 teaspoon baking powder
•¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
•½ cup cashew butter
•½ cup honey
•1 teaspoon almond extract
•2-3 tablespoons of water
For the cherry filling:
•3 cups frozen cherries, roughly chopped (substitute with 3½ cups fresh pitted cherries if in season)
•Juice of half a small orange
•1 tablespoon honey
•2 tablespoons chia seeds
•½ teaspoon almond extract
For the topping:
•2 cups part skim ricotta
•½ cup 1% milk
•1 tablespoon honey
•1 teaspoon orange zest
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper, make sure the paper slightly hangs over each side of the baking dish for easy lift-out. Lightly spray the parchment with coconut oil spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups almond meal, ¼ cup rice flour, 3 tablespoons flaxseeds, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
In a small bowl, mix together ½ cup cashew butter, ½ cup milk, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix together with your hands. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water one tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands, until a nice dough forms. If the dough feels too dry and crumbly, and does not stick together, add a little more water.
Remove one cup of the dough, and reserve. Press the remaining dough into the baking dish, and flatten into a crust. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, until slightly firm and partially baked. Set aside to cool.
While the crust is baking, make your filling. Roughly chop 3 cups of frozen cherries (or 3½ cups pitted fresh cherries).
To a small saucepan over medium high heat, add 3 cups frozen cherries, the juice of half an orange, and 1 tablespoon of honey to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring the cherry mixture to a boil. Cook the cherries until thickened, about 3 minutes. Once thickened, stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and ½ a teaspoon of almond extract. Turn off the heat.
Spread the cherry filling over the slightly cooled crust. Spread the remaining dough over the cherry filling, and place back in the oven to bake until cooked and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure that the crumble does not burn.
Place on a rack to cool and set for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping.
To a medium bowl, add the 2 cups of ricotta cheese, ½ cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Using a fork or whisk, beat the mixture until it is whipped and smooth.
Once the cherry almond dessert has cooled and set for 15 minutes, cut into squares. Serve each square with a dollop of whipped ricotta topping.
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