Saturday, June 18, 2011

Key Lime Bars

Key limes will always remind me of my 2nd anniversary. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas, and one of our stops was Key West, Florida. They had these touristy shops with everything key lime - so of course I indulged and bought things like key lime taffy and key lime fudge. Me and key limes. We're tight.

I've had my eye on Nellie and Joe's Key West lime juice for years but had never bought it. Until a week ago. I didn't have a reason for buying it. I wanted to have it, just in case.

Well, the awesome people at America's Test Kitchen must have known I was in the market for a recipe to use it on, so they sent me a link to their Key Lime Bars. Granted, probably a million other people got this link via their newsletter, but I still felt like it was directed at me. And I was co-hosting a baby shower that needed some serious delicious desserts. Perfect.

These bars tasted so fresh and creamy! I loved the addition of cream cheese to the filling. There was just the right amount so that it didn't overpower the lime flavor, and the toasted coconut added such great texture. (You'll just have to imagine my pictures with toasted coconut because I took these pictures before it was added). The perfect summer treat!

Key Lime Bars
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated and Joy of Baking
Printer Friendly Version

1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp grated lime zest
pinch table salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
1/2 c fresh lime juice, either Key lime or regular

Garnish (optional)
3/4 c sweetened shredded coconut , toasted until golden and crisp

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy-duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch-square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the crust: Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool while you make the filling

To make the filling: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, 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 (mixture will thicken slightly).

To assemble and bake: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

Loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if using, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days; crust will soften slightly. Let bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.)


  1. These look so good. I'm going to have to try them out soon.

  2. Your Key Lime Bars looks delicious, I am going to try them. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!
    Miz Helen

  3. Key Lime is one of my favorite flavors--they look fantastic!

  4. I love Key Lime so much! These are a must-try! They look fabulous!

  5. I used to live in Florida so I can totally relate to everything key lime. Love it!

  6. This sounds so good! Would you come over to my link party tomorrow and share your recipes with us at Cast Party Wednesday?
    I hope to see you there!

  7. What a perfect summer treat! I wanted to invite you to come over and share your recipe at These Chicks Cooked Recipe Spotlight today. Have a great day :)

  8. Those look absolutely delicious! I would also LOVE if you would link up your recipe to our {{What I Made Wednesday}} linky's going on now! And, I'm your newest follower! =)


  9. Looks FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Divine, I can't wait to make these.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  11. I've seen these on severl linky parties and I wanted to stop by to say hi. They look delicious! I'm your newest follower. If you get a chance stop by Vibrant Serenity and see what I've been up to!

  12. oh those look so tasty! i'd love if you came and shared something at my link party! its open all week :)

  13. Thanks for linking last week, this looks so good.
    Besides a weekly anything goes link party, I have a new ongoing free give away link party now too. Share your give aways or enter to win.
    Hope to see you soon at

  14. I can't wait to try these! I'm a new follower from a blog hop.


  15. Yes please! I was craving something like this the other day. Now I know what to make!!
    I am your newest follower and would love if you'd come follow me too!

  16. These look so good! Great photos! I'm your newest follower!

  17. I adore key limes too. Your bars sound delicious and your photos are wonderful. Happy Foodie Friday.

  18. These drew me in! I love pie, but key lime is my absolute favorite....I used to experiment with all types of recipes until I found Nellie & Joe's....oh my goodness! Now, I make my own key lime pie for my birthday and eat the whole thing :) (not at one sitting, of course lol)
    It's so nice to meet you I came from sweet as sugar cookies! I'll be following you now! :)

  19. Tried to follow but it seems blogger has a problem - it removed our followers again! I'll be back when it's fixed! ugh!

  20. Yum! I want one right now! I'm a sucker for key lime anything. And I bet that toasted coconut really set it over the top. Thanks for sharing! I'm a new follower :)

  21. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe with us at Cast Party Wednesday. I hope you come back and visit us tomorrow.
    Thanks again.
    I hope to see you there!

  22. These look fabulous and I can't wait to make them. I shared your recipe on my Must Try Tuesday blog post this week.

    Thanks for sharing!


  23. We made these and while delicious we found them a little too sweet.