Key Lime Bars

Recently for a party, not having condensed milk on hand, no graham crackers, and no key lime juice, I was forced to make a lime bar recipe that used, *shudder* Jello. At the time I made it clear that what I’d made was not my usual recipe (which I’d actually taken to work not long before making the substandard lime bars). My recipe is mildly modified from one originally published by Martha Stewart.


1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 large egg yolks
zest of two regular limes, finely grated (people who try and zest key limes have no regard for their fingers)
2/3 cup Key lime juice (fresh or bottled, it all depends on your commitment level)
1 can sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)

1/2 cup heavy cream
powdered sugar to taste


Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)

Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in bowl and whisk until very thick, about 5 minutes. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.

Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Whisk cream in a clean bowl. Add powdered sugar to taste. Mix until stiff peaks form. Spread bars with whipped cream.

Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars.

The Martha recipe assumes that everyone has a stand mixer, and the times mentioned above for mixing reflect the assumption, I use a mixer myself, but if you’re determined, there’s no reason you couldn’t whip this up by hand.