Almond Ricotta Bars

Ingredients for the Bars:
16 Tbsp. (two sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. Bourbon Maple Balsamic or Maple Balsamic
1 tsp. vanilla extract
15 oz. (440ml) whole-milk ricotta cheese

For the Icing:
8 Tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
3 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. Bourbon Maple Balsamic or Maple Balsamic
1/2 c. sliced, skin-on almonds, toasted
 
For the Bars:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Use butter to grease the bottom and sides of a standard-size rimmed baking sheet, then line with parchment paper. Use a fork to whisk together, or use a sifter, to blend the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Whip the butter with a mixer on medium-high speed for a few minutes until creamy.

Add the granulated sugar beat for 2 minutes until lightened and fluffy, scrape down the bowl as needed.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition until thoroughly combined.

Add the Balsamic and vanilla and beat just until well blended.

Add the ricotta in three additions mixing at low speed each time until incorporated. Gradually add the flour mixture to form a soft dough.

Spread in the baking sheet, bake for about 35 minutes or until set, lightly golden and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (in the pan) completely.

Meanwhile, Make the Icing:
Combine the butter and cream cheese, mix on medium-high speed for about two minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners' sugar and Balsamic, beating to form a smooth, creamy icing. 

Use the parchment paper underneath to slide the bar slab out of its baking sheet and onto a cutting board. Invert and discard the paper.

Cut the slab into 48 bars of equal size, keeping them in place as much as possible. Spread the icing evenly over all the cut pieces, then top each with the toasted almonds. Re-score or cut all the bars as needed.

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