Because, these Key Lime bars are some seriously tasty little numbers. I promise you, they will really make you say WOW. They really are sensational. If you like lemon bars, you will FLIP over these. They are like lemon bars with ooomph - creamier and the lime flavor is out of this world.
Key limes are little gems. They are smaller and less green than regular limes. They are called Key limes because, well, they were mainly grown in the Florida Keys and made famous by their use in Florida Key Lime pie. They are now actually grown in Mexico and California. They are much more aromatic and tart than regular limes. I found my Key limes at Vallarta market (I think it was $2 for a big bag), but you could substitute regular limes if you are not fortunate enough to obtain Key limes.
This recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk. When I went to make them, I realized the recipe only made an 8 x 8 pan, but the note said you can double it and make it in a 9 x 13 pan. I decided to double the recipe but then realized that I didn't have a second can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk. I went online and found a recipe to make your own from scratch, and I may never buy the Eagle Brand again. It was so easy, more economical, and I'm sure, much better for you than the canned stuff. The recipe follows the cookie recipe.
Sorry, no picture. And I'm not going to type much more, as I am feeling some Carpal Tunnel in my right hand (too much typing lately). Just make these soon, OK?
Key Lime Bars
5 ounces animal crackers
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. melted butter
2 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1 Tbsp. grated lime rind
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh lime juice (about 20 key limes or 4 regular limes)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line an 8” square baking pan with two pieces of foil. Spray liberally with Pam spray.
For the crust:
Pulse the animal crackers in a food processor until evenly fine. Add brown sugar and salt, process to combine. Drizzle the butter over the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly and firmly in the bottom of prepared pan. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
For the filling:
In stand mixer, beat cream cheese, zest and salt until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until well incorporated. Beat in egg yolk. Add lime juice and beat until incorporated.
Pour filling over baked crust and spread evenly.. Bake until set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides, about 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack about 1 – 1 ½ hours. Carefully cut into bars and keep refrigerated.
Note: May double recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 c. instant non-fat powdered milk
1/2 c. boiling water
2/3 c. sugar
3 tbsp. butter
Place all ingredients in blender container. Process at high speed until smooth. Use in any recipe calling for the commercially sold sweetened condensed milk. This recipe makes the equivalent of one can of Eagle Brand.