It's my boss's wife's birthday this weekend, and she is one of the sweetest people I know. She always thoughtfully gets something for me at Christmas and on my birthday but I have no idea what I could get for her so to show a little love, I thought I would create a dessert/birthday treat... these Key Lime Pie Bars with a coconut crust. My spin on the original. And because I couldn't bare not trying them myself, I made a big batch and shared them with family.
Perfectly tart, creamy and not overly sweet, these bars came together beautifully. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Key Lime Pie Bars with Coconut Crust
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 cups vanilla wafers (approximately 54 cookies)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 egg whites (set yolks aside for filling)
Pinch of salt
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 5 limes)
4 large egg yolks
Turn oven on broil. In 9 x 13 baking dish, spread out coconut and toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes until just lightly browned. Be sure to watch it, it burns quickly! Once it's done, set aside and lower the oven temperature to 350 F.
In food processor, add your vanilla wafer cookies and pulse until you have crumbs. Alternatively, if you don't have a food processor, put cookies in a sealed Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or something else heavy.
In medium bowl, combine toasted coconut, vanilla wafer crumbs, sugar, salt, melted butter and egg whites. Stir to moisten.
Line your 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper. Press your crust mixture into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes until the sides are starting to turn a golden brown.
While the crust is baking, zest then juice your limes and set aside.
Add cream cheese to a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add in condensed milk and mix again until well combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and lime zest, turn on the mixer and then slowly add the lime juice. Lastly, add the yolks with the mixer on one at a time to ensure they're well incorporated.
Pour filling mixture over the crust and smooth out the top with a spatula. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the center is just set. You don't want any browning and it will firm up as it cools.
Allow the bars to cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before transferring the pan to the fridge. Allow them to chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2-3 hours so they set properly.
Remove from pan and slice into bars. Top with a small wedge of lime and serve!
Separate your eggs one at a time into a small bowl to avoid getting shell in the recipe. The 2 extra egg whites make a perfect omelette!
Zest your limes before you juice them!
You can also serve with a small amount of whip cream on top to take it from a bar to a dessert.