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Key Lime Bars

Key Lime Bars
Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Makes 9 bars

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs*
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Pinch of salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
½ cup fresh key lime juice (or regular limes)

*I used store bought graham cracker crumbs, so I’m not sure how many full graham crackers this equates to. I’ll have to do some investigating later.

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with foil along the bottom and up the sides, letting the two opposite ends hang over about 2 inches so you can pull the bars out of the pan after they’ve baked. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and salt with a whisk or your fingers. Drizzle melted butter over crumbs and mix together until crumbs are evenly moistened. (If using a food processor to make crumbs, pulse graham crackers until they turn into fine crumbs. Add the brown sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.)
3. Pour the crumb mixture into prepared baking pan, pressing down evenly into the bottom of the pan with the bottom of a glass or a measuring cup. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
4. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, lime zest and salt until thoroughly combined. (I smashed mine up against the side of the bowl to make sure there were no lumps.) Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated. Whisk in egg yolk until combined. Carefully whisk in lime juice until smooth and creamy.
5. Pour the filling on top of baked crust, spreading to the corners and smoothing the top. Bake until filling is set and edges begin to slightly pull away from the sides of the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Mine actually took about 23 minutes, and never really did pull away from the pan while baking.) Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Cover pan with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours. Using the foil overhang, lift bars out of the pan, and cut into 9 squares before serving. Store bars in the refrigerator.

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