Now that spring is here, I’m craving lighter and fresher tasting desserts. If there’s one thing I love, especially in the spring, it’s citrus. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving up chocolate anytime soon. It’s just that when the weather is as beautiful as it has been lately, it’s hard not to crave that sweet-tart flavor that comes only from citrus. Limes just scream warm weather to me, and since I won’t be drinking margaritas anytime soon, I needed a good replacement. Enter these key lime pie bars. They’ve got all that punchy citrus flavor I’ve been searching for without requiring me to find an alternative source of food for Clara.
I have a new fondness for bar desserts. They’re easy to make and easy to eat. I’ve been looking for a recipe to match the lemon blueberry bars I made last year, and this is it. The typical graham cracker crust is elevated by sweetened coconut. It gets slightly toasted when the crust bakes and adds a chewy texture and extra layer of flavor to the bars. I was concerned that the filling might be too sweet, but it had the perfect balance of sweet and tart. These bars are fresh and bright, everything I want in a springtime dessert. When topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut, these turn into a portable version of key lime pie, no fork needed.
- YIELD: 12-16 bars
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about ⅔ a sleeve)
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
⅓ cup butter, melted
3 cups sweetened condensed milk (from 3 14-ounce cans)
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup key lime juice
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Whipped cream and toasted coconut for serving, optional
Heat oven to 350º. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment, leaving a few inches overhang on two sides. Butter the parchment and set pan aside.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Pour melted butter over and stir to combine. Press mixture into prepared pan and bake for 8-9 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool.
While crust is cooling, make filling by whisking together the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour filling into cooled pie crust and return to oven.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the filling feels just firm to the touch. Do not brown. Cool at room temperature, then chill thoroughly. Cut into bars and top with whipped cream and toasted coconut, if desired.