Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lime Bars

I found this recipe online and of course made my changes (watch for notations).


5 ounces animal crackers (about 2 1/2 cups animal crackers)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted

(I didn't have animal crackers but spotted a box of Honey Nut Cherrios and used 2 1/2 cups that I put in a food processor and ground until they were flour like, added the melted butter and had my crust.)

2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 tbsp grated fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
Pinch salt
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3-4 regular limes or 20 Key limes)

(The only change I made here was to use 4 ounces of cream cheese instead of the 2.)

3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)

(I used organic, non-sweetened coconut that I added when I started my baking which allowed it to toast in the oven as the bars cooked.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, adjusting an oven rack to the middle position. Line an 8-inch (I used an 8 x 12 clear casserole dish) square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting two opposing edges hang over at least an inch or so. Grease the foil with cooking spray.  (I didn't use the foil but did spray my baking dish with non-stick spray.)

For the crust, process the animal crackers, sugar and salt together to fine crumbs in a blender or food processor. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate (or stir together in a bowl with a fork). Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into an even layer. Bake the crust until fragrant and golden, about 15-18 minutes.

For the filling, while crust bakes, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest and salt together until combined. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth (you can use a handheld electric mixer, if you want). Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice until combined.  (Note, when the lime juice is added the mixture will thicken, I'm assuming from the acid in the lime.)  Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake the bars until the filling is set and the edges just slightly begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 15-17 minutes.  (Mine took about 30 minutes to reach this point.)

Let the bars cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang and cut into squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.

Comment:  One of my food testers bought too many limes so she gave 4 to me.  I promised her I would come up with something good using the limes.  After looking at several recipes for lime bars this is the one I liked the best and the one that was actually the easiest.  The cereal crust was great!  Not too sweet and probably a bit healthier than the animal crackers would have been.  You can make this with graham cracker crust too.  The flavor of this was simply delicious.  The 3 lucky food testers that were given this dish to try all put in a request for me to make it again.
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