Sunday, May 22, 2011

Key Lime Bars

These Key Lime Bars are yet another goodie I made for the Bake Sale. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best choice to bring...as it's delicate & not quite the sort of thing you expect to find there. They are popular with the "grown-ups" who appreciate a more sophisticated dessert.
I've been making this recipe for many years. In fact, I made them for this here blog over a year ago, but never posted them because I neglected to get a shot of the finished product. You know something's good when it gets devoured before you have a chance to get pictures!
Every time I make them I get asked for the recipe. I've also heard from multiple people who are not typically "Key lime" fans, that they loved them. I suspect it's the crust that sets these apart from other recipes...which is made using animal crackers...a brilliant idea!
The original recipe suggests to cut the bars into 2" squares, which I think is a bit overkill. I've always preferred to slice them into little bite-sized bars. But, of course, it's up to you...either way works!

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 9" baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Coat with non-stick cooking spray & set aside.
Add 5 ounces of animal crackers to the bowl of a food processor,

and pulse until finely ground. Add 3 {packed} tablespoons of brown sugar & 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Process until combined.

Drizzle a 1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter over the crumbs & pulse until evenly moistened.

Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, leaving the oven on.
Add 2 ounces of softened cream cheese, the zest of 3 limes & an 1/8 teaspoon salt to a mixing bowl.


Stir until softened and smooth. Add in a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk & whisk until no lumps of cream cheese remain.

Then, whisk in one egg yolk. Add the juice from 3 limes & whisk until incorporated {the mixture will thicken as you whisk}.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust & use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling is set. When done, the edges will puff up slightly & pull away from the edges of the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 1" squares using a sharp knife & serve.

Key Lime Bars

Makes 64-1" bars {or 24-2" bars}
Adapted {barely} from Cook's Illustrated, July 2006
I have listed the quantities for the lime zest & lime juice according to what regular {Persian} limes would yield...as Key limes are not always available. If you can find Key limes, use the alternative measurements that I've given.

For the Crust:
5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
2 ounces {softened} cream cheese
zest of 3 limes {or 1 tablespoon}
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 {14 ounce} can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
juice from 3 limes {or 1/2 cup}
1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut {as an optional garnish}
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9" x 9" baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Coat with non-stick cooking spray & set aside.
For the Crust: Add the animal crackers to the bowl of a food processor & pulse until finely ground. Add the brown sugar & salt; process until combined. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs & pulse until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, leaving the oven on.
For the Filling: Add the cream cheese, lime zest & salt to a mixing bowl. Stir until softened and smooth. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the lime juice; whisk until incorporated & the mixture has thickened.
Pour the filling over the cooled crust & use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling is set. When done, the edges will puff up slightly & pull away from the edges of the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 1" squares using a sharp knife. It's helpful to run the knife under hot water & wipe it clean between slices. Sprinkle the bars with shredded coconut before serving, if desired.
To Make Ahead: The bars can be stored, refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Click here for the printable recipe.

8 comments:

Ruth said...

These look really good - and I love that you put them in cupcake cases! Genius!

The Food Hound said...

I love key lime ANYTHING, and I love the coconut on top!! Isn't Cooks Illustrated awesome! I have such good luck with all their recipes! Animal crackers do make an interesting crust- I might try them with shortbread since I have some to use up from the holidays, and it's getting harder and harder to resist opening the box the longer it's in the pantry :)

Aquí said...

OMG! Trying them asap! Looks amazing! Love the animal cracker idea!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

How fun and delicious looking too! Beautiful picture!

Joanne said...

I guess I fall into the "grown up" category because I would love these! Key lime is an ultimate favorite of mine!

Lori @ Girl Meets Oven said...

Love the animal cracker crust idea. I have not had much luck with making lime bars, but I may have to give these a try.

carrie said...

I've gotta try these. The animal cracker crust is what really make me want to make them. i love key lime anything ;) thanks for the recipe

Courtney said...

These look superb! Yum!

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