Key Lime Bars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I first sampled these tangy, but cool and creamy bars at a baby shower for a good friend.  I’ve always loved key lime pie, so it was no surprise that these easy bars struck such a chord with me.  After tracking down the recipe from my friend Alex, who had gotten the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, I was determined to give them a try at home.  They came together in a jiffy and ended up being every bit the citrusy taste of spring I had been hoping for!   They would make for a great party food, since they’re simple to make and hold up well (once they’ve been refrigerated).  In addition, this recipe doubled fits just perfectly into a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Enjoy! 
Click here for printable recipe.

The ingredients:

CRUST: 

1-1/4 cups crushed animal crackers (about two and a half of the little 2 ounce boxes)
3 Tbs. brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled slightly


FILLING: 

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbs. grated lime zest, minced
pinch of salt
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice


GARNISH:

3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted until golden and crisp


Directions:
  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 8x8-inch baking pan with foil , folded and hanging over the sides (so that the overhang can later be used as handles in removing the bars from the pan).  Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.    (NOTE:  recipe can be doubled  and baked in a 9x13-inch baking pan if desired)


For making the crust:  In a large bowl (or in the blender jar if a blender was used to crush the animal crackers),  add the crushed animal crackers, brown sugar, salt and stir well.  Stir in melted butter.  Press crumb/butter mixture evenly and firmly into bottom of foil-lined pan.  Bake until deep golden brown, 18-20 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool, while you prepare the filling. 

For making the filling:  While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, lime zest, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk.  Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated. 

Pour filling into baked crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula.  Bake at 325 degrees until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15- 20 minutes.  Cool at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours. 

Loosen edges with knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil "handles"; cut bars into 16 squares.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if using, and serve.  Store in refrigerator.  Makes 16 bars (or 9 if you want them to be big). 


Enjoy! 

5 comments:

ann@Apples and Twinkies March 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM  

Oh Lara, I like these a lot! I too like Key Lime Pie and these squares look great.

Learn, Laugh, Cook March 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM  

I love everything about this recipe, well except for the coconut (Ew, gross!) But since it's just a garnish, I could definitely leave that off! I can't wait to try them and hopefully redeem the last time I made a key lime pie and it didn't hold together! Thanks Lara!

Holly March 23, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

These bars look insanely delish!! I've been on a lime kick lately:)

Debbie March 23, 2011 at 7:17 PM  

I love key lime pie and I want to definitely give these a try. They look delicious. I love the crust....animal crackers!! I've never seen that before!

Julie March 24, 2011 at 12:19 AM  

Looks just delish, I love the touch of toasted coconut on top!

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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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