Key Lime Bars

DSC_0616-2-710Need a crowd pleaser dessert for the barbecue this weekend? These delicate and sophisticated dessert by Katie of the Parsley Thief are great choice. Katie has been making this recipe for years and she suspects it’s the crust that sets these apart from other recipes. We 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. This recipe makes 64-1″ bars.

Key Lime Bars

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.Use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan.
Click here for the printable recipe.

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