Monday, September 7, 2009

Key Lime Bars

It takes quite a few Key limes to produce a reasonable amount of juice. Based on my previous experience with the Key lime cream cheese frosting for my Cupcake Hero entry, I estimated that I would need 20 Key limes in order to extract the ½ cup lime juice I needed to make Key lime bars. Knowing that would involve a good deal of squeezing (which I did by hand previously), I did an online search for "tips for squeezing Key limes" to see if there was an easier way. Turns out you can use a garlic press to squeeze halved Key limes (duh, why didn't I think of that?!?)

Actually, it turns out that most people can use a garlic press to squeeze halved Key limes. My efforts with the garlic press produced a fair amount of juice, most of which ended up squirting on my face, on the floor, in my eyes, all over my shirt and get the point. In other words, everywhere except the target vessel. I tried orienting the garlic press in every which way, but to no avail. Maybe I'm just an idiot (very possible). It works for the vast majority of people, but for me...not so much. However, I will say this: the extra labor of hand-squeezing tiny little limes made the final product all the more delicious!

Key Lime Bars (from Cook's Illustrated)

Makes 16 bars

5 oz. animal crackers
3 Tbl. packed brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tbl. butter, melted

2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbl. lime zest
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh Key lime juice

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a foil sling using heavy-duty foil, and fit it into an 8-inch square pan. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, pulse animal crackers until fine crumbs form. Add brown sugar and salt, then process until combined. Add melted butter to processor bowl, and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake at 325°F for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven to cool while preparing filling. (Leave oven on)

While crust is cooling, stir cream cheese, lime zest, salt, and egg yolk together in a medium bowl until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk, and stir well to combine. Stir in lime juice until mixture is smooth and begins to thicken.

Pour filling into crust and spread into corners if needed. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until filling is set and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Warning: The following images may not be suitable for the faint of heart. Children, avert your eyes.
Okay...everybody in the pool! Time to go for a spin...


  1. Oh, I think it was bad for my thighs to find this recipe! YUMMY.

  2. Peabody, these are very easy to eat. TOO easy, believe me. I about finished off half the pan by myself before I realized I made them for Labor Day! I think that in general, the INTERNET with all its wonderful food blogs is detrimental to my figure! I just joined a gym last week; hopefully that can counteract the damage I've been doing by trying out all these new recipes!

  3. I just found your blog and I love it! You have such cute pictures too :) So sad to see those animal cookies turn to crumbs! But I'm sure the outcome was DELISH!
    Happy Baking,
    Mini Baker

  4. Oh my goodness those look so creamy and delicious. I think I'm going to have to go back into my kitchen and make some right away :)