Key Lime Bars With Animal Cracker Crust

"OHHH...these are REALLY good lime bars I found in Cook's Illustrated."
photo by Bev I Am photo by Bev I Am
photo by Bev I Am
photo by Bev I Am photo by Bev I Am
Ready In:
1hr 10mins
16 2




  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325°.
  • Cut about 12" length extra-wide heavy duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2" width. WIth folded sides facing down, fir foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8" square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. SPray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In workbowl of food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1 second pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs). Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1 second pulses (if large sugar clumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1 second pulses.
  • Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.
  • While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).
  • Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate unti thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
  • Loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking panusing foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted with toasted coconut and serve. Can refrigerate for up to 2 days, crust will soften slightly. Let refrigerated bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.
  • Can make triple citrus bars using 1 1/2 teaspoons each of grated lime zest, lemon zest, and orange zest (mince zest after measuring), and using 6 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tablespoons orange juice.

Questions & Replies

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  1. I found this recipe on the Cook's Illustrated website and had to make them. They were so easy to make and turned out wonderful! Just the right amount of lime flavor. They were like little key lime pies! I took these to work and everyone loved them. I believe it took 4 regular limes to get 1/2 cup of juice. Also, I would suggest using the Barnum brand animal crackers as they have more flavor to them than other brands like Stauffers. To me they have a bit of a ginger snap taste that goes really well with the lime. I bet graham crackers would work well too. Thanks for posting this recipe, now I don't have to!
  2. *Outstanding* recipe Bev. I always have animal crackers in the house, along with cream cheese and the other necessary ingredients for this simple but delicious dessert! Love the tangy sweet and the crunch from the animal crackers did not over power it at all. The condensed milk added to the richness. Loved this, so did my kids! It's a *keeper* thanks for sharing.
  3. I had these at a party recently they were terrific! Then I had to hunt down the recipe they were that good!!!
  4. I used lots of limes this weekend lol, these bars were terrific, i packed most of them for my friends daughter to take with her on the bus back, because i knew i would eat them all!! She adored them too. No pic bc to be honest my pics were dark and ugly and no comparison to bev's.
  5. Bev, these bars are to die for! we loved the tangy taste of the limes and the crunchy cookie bottom. The animal crackers certainly gives another twist to these bars! And so easy to prepare. The coconut garnish sends you to a tropical paradise! Really easy to make and so refreshing for a summer treat! Thanks for posting this...This is a must try!



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