Key Lime Pie Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
- 5 oz. animal crackers
- 3 T. brown sugar
- Pinch salt
- 4 T. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 T. grated lime zest (about 1 lime)
- Pinch salt
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ c. lime juice (about 3 limes)
- ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325°. Line an 8-inch square pan with 2 pieces of foil (one in each direction) and spray with vegetable spray.
- For the Crust: Place the animal crackers in a food processor and pulse until broken down, about 10 pulses. Process the crumbs until they are evenly fine, about 10 seconds. You should have about 1¼ cups of crumbs. Add the brown sugar and salt; process to combine, 10 to 12 pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with your fingers). Drizzle the butter over the crumbs and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses. Press the crumbs evenly and firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
- For the Filling: While the crust cools, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add the sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in the egg yolk. Add the lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the crust; spread to the corners and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until set and the edges begin to pull away slightly from the sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature 1 to 1½ hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Loosen the edges with a paring knife and lift the bars from the baking pan using the foil sling; cut the bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut (optional) and serve.