Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

These are SO yummy and the perfect dessert for a hot summer day because they are cool and refreshing.  You don’t even need to hunt down REAL key limes.  You can fake out your guests using regular lime juice!

Start by lining an 8 inch square baking dish with foil so that it hangs over a little (this makes it REALLY easy to get the cheesecake out of the dish later…).  Spray with oil spray.

To make the crust, process about 5 ounces of animal crackers in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 seconds (you want about 1 1/4 cups crumbs).  As a side note:

How does one qualify “A Stampede of Fun?”  Food for thought.

Add the brown sugar and salt to the cracker crumbs and pulse to combine.  Drizzle the butter over the crumbs and pulse until evenly moistened, about ten 1-second pulses.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the middle position.  Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake until deep golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool the crust on a wire rack while making the filling.

To make the filling, combine the room temperature cream cheese with lime zest and salt in a medium bowl.  When zesting the limes, be careful to avoid the bitter white pith.

Add the condensed milk and whisk until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Whisk in the egg yolk and then add the lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (the mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth with a spatula.  Bake until set and the edges begin to pull away slightly from the sides, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack, 1 to 2 hours.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.  When ready to serve, lift the foil overhang to remove the cheesecake.  Using a chef’s knife, cut into 16 squares and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if using.

To make the optional coconut garnish, heat your oven to 350 and spread the sweetened, shredded coconut over a baking pan. Bake the coconut, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or so.  Watch closely to avoid burning.

These bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days (crust will soften slightly).  Let them stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.


  • Crust
  • 5 ounces of animal crackers
  • 3 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Filling
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest (does NOT have to be key lime)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 14 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
Garnish (Optional)
3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
Makes 16 bars
Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen:  Best Recipes and Reviews 2008

Tags: , ,

Categories: Bar Cookies, Recipes, Sweets

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2 Comments on “Key Lime Cheesecake Bars”

  1. July 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Is there much of a difference between using cracker crumbs and digestive biscuit crumbs? I’ve only ever used digestives with butter. Yet I’ve seen a lot of recipes which include crackers.

  2. Christina DeVincent
    July 18, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    I love animal crackers! Will try that instead of graham next time:)

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