Florida is known for some pretty incredible things but nothing is more scrumptious than our key lime desserts. This sweet and tangy dessert is simple to throw together and sure to be a hit with your crew!
Hey, y’all! Admittedly, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Sure, I enjoy the occasional brownie or cupcake but for the most part I stay away from sweets. When I discovered dessert dips like Cadbury Cream Egg Dip, Strawberry Cheesecake Dip and Easy as (Key Lime) Pie Dip I felt like I had finally found a dessert I could get behind. All of these dips can be enjoyed with a salty dipper, like a pretzel stick, to create a salty sweet combination that I love.
Recently, I had to make the trip from Florida to North Carolina. All of my family drove in to spend some time with my grandmother who was unwell. I wanted to bring something that people could snack on while they visited. Being that everyone was from up north, I decided to create something I figured they didn’t get much of at home. I set out to make Key Lime Bars.
Key Lime desserts are super common in the Sunshine State. We love making things like key lime bars, key lime milk shakes, and of course key lime pie. We have a grocery store chain called Publix that makes the absolute best key lime pie I’ve ever had. I loosely based my key lime bars on their infamous recipe.
What are key limes?
I'm sure you're wondering what the difference is between a lime and a key lime. Key limes are a little bit more tart than regular limes. They have more floral notes and have more seeds. Key limes are slightly yellow in color, whereas regular limes are more green.
How do I make Key Lime Bars?
Key Lime Bars are a relatively simple dessert to throw together. You begin by pulsing some graham crackers in a food processor to break them down into little baby crumbs. Mix in some melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt and press the mixture into the bottom of a baking pan to form the crust. Make sure you press it in there pretty well or else the crust can become crumbly. It still tastes great, it can just get a little messy to eat if you’re not using a plate or a fork.
While the crust is baking, mix together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, and lime zest to form the filling. Pour the combination over the baked crust and bake it off until it sets. Allow the dessert to bake until the filling sets and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before cutting it into bars and serving.
After dinner, we gathered around the living room and hung out for a bit. My mom broke out some cookies and brownies she purchased at a bakery on the drive up and I introduced everyone to my homemade Key Lime Bars. I was a little nervous at first, I’ve heard that key limes are an acquired taste but as a Floridian, I don’t know any differently.
My aunt reached for a Key Lime bar and I watched as she took her first bite. I got a smile of approval and soon everyone was digging in. Some people even went back for seconds. Everyone commented about how great they were.
Honestly, this is probably the best Key Lime Bar recipe I’ve ever had. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart and has just a hint of saltiness that helps to balance that out. These scrumptious little dessert bars are absolutely divine! They would be great to bring along to BBQs or potlucks!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 inch pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper.
In a food processor or in a large Ziploc bag with a rolling pin, crush the graham crackers until it forms sand-like crumbs.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, salt and butter, mix to combine. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the lined pan. Be sure to pack the crust in there well so it doesn't crumble part.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy using a mixer. Add the condensed milk and mix until combined.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
Pour the filling over the baked crust. Continue baking for 15-18 minutes or until set.
Remove from the oven and chill in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours before serving.
Cut and serve, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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