recipe

“The lime flavor was very strong, and the crust adds a nice little crunch.” —­Suriya, recipe tester, age 10

safety
  • Uses the microwave
  • Uses the oven
  • Uses a knife
difficulty
  • Advanced
time
  • 1¼ hours, plus 4 hours cooling and chilling time
yield
  • Makes 16 bars

hey curious cook—

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Prepare Ingredients

Crust

Vegetable oil spray
5
whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (or ¾ cup store-­bought graham cracker crumbs)
⅓ cup (1⅔ ounces)
all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1¾ ounces)
sugar
⅛ teaspoon
salt
4 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted

Filling

1
(14-­ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup (2 ounces)
cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon
grated lime zest plus ½ cup juice (zested and squeezed from 4 limes)
Pinch
salt
½ cup (1½ ounces)
sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, optional

Gather Baking Equipment

  • Aluminum foil
  • 8-­inch square metal baking pan
  • Ruler
  • Food processor
  • Rubber spatula
  • Dry measuring cup
  • Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife
1
 
Vegetable oil spray

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Make aluminum foil sling for 8-­inch square metal baking pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.

2up Making Foil Sling

  1. For an 8-­­inch square pan, both sheets of foil should measure 8 inches across and roughly 13 inches long. Fold 2 long sheets of aluminum foil to match width of baking pan.
  1. Lay sheets of foil in pan so that sheets are perpendicular to each other. Let extra foil hang over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil so it rests against pan.
 
2
 
5
whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (or ¾ cup store-­bought graham cracker crumbs)
⅓ cup (1⅔ ounces)
all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1¾ ounces)
sugar
⅛ teaspoon
salt

Add cracker pieces, flour, sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to food processor and lock lid into place. Hold down pulse button for 1 second, then release. Repeat until crackers are broken into small pieces, about five 1-­second pulses.

 
3
 
4 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted

Turn on processor and process until crackers are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Stop processor. Remove lid, add melted butter to processor, and lock lid back into place. Pulse until butter is combined with crumbs, about ten 1-­second pulses.

 
4
 

Remove lid and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help). Use rubber spatula to scrape crumb mixture into foil-­lined baking pan.

 
5
 

Use your hands to press crumbs into even layer covering bottom of baking pan, then use bottom of dry measuring cup to press crumbs firmly into pan until very flat.

Use your hands to press crumbs into even layer covering bottom of baking pan. Then use bottom of dry measuring cup to press crumbs firmly into pan to make flat surface.

 
6
 

Place baking pan in oven. Bake until crust begins to brown at edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

 
7
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and let crust cool for at least 15 minutes. (Do not turn off oven.)

 
8
 
1
(14-­ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup (2 ounces)
cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon
grated lime zest plus ½ cup juice (zested and squeezed from 4 limes)
1
large egg yolk
Pinch
salt

For the filling: Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk condensed milk, softened cream cheese, lime zest and juice, egg yolk, and pinch salt until well combined and smooth.

 
9
 

Pour filling evenly over cooled crust. Use clean rubber spatula to scrape all filling from bowl. Spread filling into even layer to corners of pan and smooth top.

 
10
 

Place baking pan in oven and bake until filling is set and no longer jiggles when pan is shaken gently (ask an adult for help), 15 to 20 minutes.

 
11
 

Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and let bars cool in pan for 2 hours. Cover baking pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until bars are chilled and firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

 
12
 
½ cup (1½ ounces)
sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, optional
Whipped Cream, optional

Remove bars from refrigerator and remove plastic. Use foil to lift bars out of baking pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut into squares. Top squares with toasted coconut or Whipped Cream (if using) and serve.