key lime bars

Do you have any fun St. Patrick’s Day plans? We’re celebrating our sweet Lizzy’s second birthday with my family, and I’m going all out with Irish food (including this awesome pudding), and a leprechaun hunt for the kiddos. If all goes well I’ll share some of the details next week! It seems like the law that you have to make some sort of green dessert for St. Patrick’s Day, and these key lime bars are perfect! They’re creamy and tangy and sweet, all at once. And the crust is made of animal crackers! Seriously, you can’t go wrong. I think lime is the perfect flavor for spring… it’s so bright and fresh and delicious!

Key Lime Bars
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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

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)
1 drop green food coloring

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting two opposing edges hang over at least an inch or so. Grease the foil with cooking 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. 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. Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice until combined. 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. 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.

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  1. I love key lime pie, so I bet these bars are delicious! I like that you use animal crackers for the crust! How fun is that? This is creative to make for St. Patrick's Day. πŸ˜‰

  2. I have never heard of an animal cracker crust, but I love the idea! Key lime pie is my husband's favorite dessert, so I will have to give these a try. Thanks!

  3. Mine just came out of the oven and by the little tastes I've done here and there, I'm very very excited! Perfect for our St. Patrick's Day potluck tomorrow! Thank you for sharing and looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  4. Is 2 ounces of cream cheese correct? That doesn't seem like much. Should it be two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese?

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