Creamy Lemon Nut Bars

Makes 32. Prepared by Ellen Gilmore from a Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1?3 cup powdered sugar

2 tsps. vanilla extract

13/4 cups flour, divided

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 (8-oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tbl. grated lemon peel

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Additional pecans for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan with foil; spray with cooking spray.

2. Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually add in 11/2 cups flour and pecans. Press dough firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.

3. Beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and eggs; beat until blended.

4. Stir in lemon juice and peel. Pour over baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Removed from oven; cool completely.

5. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar and garnish with a pecan piece if desired. Cut into 32 bars — or more if smaller pieces are desired. May be frozen.