Key Lime Bars Dessert

One of my favorite desserts of all time is key lime pie!  I absolutely love it!!!  I would eat the entire pie if I knew I wouldn’t get fat!  Several years ago, a work colleague brought in key lime bars for the office, and I knew I had found a dessert staple for my family! 🙂  She was kind enough to share her recipe with me, and I have been making for family gatherings (and just because) ever since! One of the nice things about the recipe is it is fairly simple, and there isn’t a ton of work that goes into making it!  A definite plus in my book.

I love anything lime!!!

I love anything lime!!!

What you will need for this recipe:

1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest

2/3 cup Key Lime juice

1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

8×8 oven safe glass dish

The ingredients you will need...less the limes, because I clearly always have to leave one ingredient out of my ingredients pictures!

The ingredients you will need…less the limes, because I clearly always have to leave one ingredient out of my ingredients pictures!

First preheat your oven to 350*.  To make your crust, take one unopened package of graham crackers and pre-crush it with your hand.  I’ve found that one package typically yields the 1 cup you will need for the crust. Be careful not to crush too much and split open the package!  If you tend to be a little over zealous, go ahead and throw your graham crackers in a gallon size zip lock bag for this step! Once you’ve broken it up a bit, open the package and add the crushed graham crackers to food processor to more easily turn them into crumbs!  If you don’t have a food processor, that gallon zip lock bag and a rolling pin (or large soup can) work wonders.  In fact, that’s how I used to grind up my crackers before my food processor days! While the food processor is running, cut up your 5 tablespoons of butter and toss it in the microwave to melt.

One unopened package of graham crackers will yield 1 cup of ground crumbs.

One unopened package of graham crackers will yield 1 cup of ground crumbs.

Before opening the package pre-crush them with your hand.

Before opening the package pre-crush them with your hand.

Be careful not to crush too vigorously and split open your package.

Be careful not to crush too vigorously and split open your package.

And the crushed pieces to a food processor.

And the crushed pieces to a food processor.

Turn on high until all crackers are finely crushed.

Turn on high until all crackers are finely crushed.

One cup of finely crushed graham crackers.

One cup of finely crushed graham crackers.

Cut up five table spoons of butter.

Cut up five table spoons of butter.

Place in microwave safe bowl.

Place in microwave safe bowl.

Place in microwave and heat until melted.

Place in microwave and heat until melted.

Once the graham crackers have been ground up completely, throw them in a mixing bowl with your 1/3 cup of sugar and 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir it well so that the three ingredients combine evenly.  Add it to an 8×8 oven safe glass dish and press evenly.  (Please note, that I am actually using a larger dish.  I was making this for an office pot luck when I took the photos and wanted a double batch.)

Add your graham cracker, sugar and butter to a bowl.

Add your graham cracker, sugar and butter to a bowl.

Mix until evenly combined.

Mix until evenly combined.

Grab an ovensafe baking dish.  Please note, the recipe only calls for an 8x8 dish, I am using a larger one because I doubled the recipe for the event I was going to.

Grab an ovensafe baking dish. Please note, the recipe only calls for an 8×8 dish, I am using a larger one because I doubled the recipe for the event I was going to.

Add your crust mixture to the dish.

Add your crust mixture to the dish.

Spread evenly with a fork or spoon.

Spread evenly with a fork or spoon.

Use a clean flat bottomed object (in this case, a measuring cup) to press the crust mixture into the dish.

Use a clean flat bottomed object (in this case, a measuring cup) to press the crust mixture into the dish.

Once the entire crust has been pressed in the dish, put in oven to cook.

Once the entire crust has been pressed in the dish, put in oven to cook.

Once your oven is preheated, add the crust and bake until dry and golden brown (aprox. 10 minutes).  When it is done, let cool completely on a wire rack while you make the filling.

To make the filling add your 3 egg yolks and 1.5 teaspoons of lime zest to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Be sure to use your whisk attachment.  Mix on high for about 5 minutes until it is nice and thick.  Reduce the speed and add the 14 oz. can of condensed milk slowly while continuously mixing.  Return the speed to high and mix for about 3 minutes until all ingredients are evenly mixed.  Finally, reduce the speed to low and add the 2/3 cup of lime juice.  Continue to mix on low until just combined.

Add egg yolks and lime zest to your mixer.  Make sure to use the whisk attachment.

Add egg yolks and lime zest to your mixer. Make sure to use the whisk attachment.

Mix on high for about 5 minutes.

Mix on high for about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed and slowly add the condensed milk.

Reduce the speed and slowly add the condensed milk.

Return the speed to high and mix for an additional 3 minutes until the condensed milk has blended evenly with the eggs and zest.

Return the speed to high and mix for an additional 3 minutes until the condensed milk has blended evenly with the eggs and zest.

Reduce the speed to low and add the lime juice.  Continue to mix on low until just combined.

Reduce the speed to low and add the lime juice. Continue to mix on low until just combined.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and spread it evenly with a spatula.  Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, rotating the dish about halfway through.  Once finished baking, let it cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or more preferably, over night).

Slowly pour the filling over the cooled crust.

Slowly pour the filling over the cooled crust.

SONY DSC

Spread it evenly using a spatula.

Spread it evenly using a spatula.

Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, rotating once half way through.

Place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, rotating once half way through.

Once baked, allow it to cool completely.

Once baked, allow it to cool completely.

Cover it before placing in the fridge to cool.

Cover it before placing in the fridge to chill.

Allow it to chill in the fridge for at least four hours or preferably over night before serving.

Allow it to chill in the fridge for at least four hours or preferably over night before serving.

When ready to serve, cut yourself a serving, and if desired, top with whipped cream!  Any left over bars can be kept covered in the fridge for up to four days!

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

These key lime bars are definitely a favorite at my house.  The lime is just so light and refreshing that it makes a perfect summer treat!

 

Are there any summer desserts that your family likes?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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