***THIS RECIPE HAS BEEN UPDATED AS OF 4/25/16***
You need these Key Lime Bars in your life. Thats a Neeeed with a capital N!
If ever there was a dessert recipe that hit the trifecta, this is it. Healthy, easy to make, and absolutely, over-the-top, addictingly, eat-every-last-crumb, delicious. Plus, they re gluten free, grain free, contain no refined sugar, and are packed with the delicious tangy flavor of key limes.
Ill get to the recipe in a second, but first I have to tell you the story behind these key limes! One morning not too long ago, I was browsing through a link party (kind of like a visual potluck for bloggers), when this adorable little key lime pie caught my eye. I gave it a click because I had to see what this was all about, and wouldnt ya know it it was the handiwork of one of my bloggy friends Emily from Table & Hearth! When I told her how much I loved her pie, she offered to send me a whole box of key limes picked fresh from her neighbors tree in Southern Texas!!
Words cant even begin to tell you how excited I was about this. In fact I may have stalked the mailman through our neighborhood on more than one occasion in hopes that he had my box of limes. (Ok, I definitely did do this, and it might be my imagination but he seems to speed up just a tad when hes on our street now oops!)
Anyway, enough about my silly stalker antics, lets get back to the business of baking! Before I even opened the box, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making Key Lime Bars. You see, for Easter I made (or rather, attempted to make) Meyer Lemon Bars and they just didnt cut it. They just didnt come out the way I had wanted, so I saw these key limes as my chance for recipe redemption.
And what a redemption it was These Key Lime Bars are quite possibly the most delicious treat Ive baked up in a very long time! They are perfectly tangy and sweet at the same time with a buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread crust. The key lime filling bakes up soft with just the right ooey-gooeyness that such a dessert requires. And because a whole key lime was used in the filling, each bite is bursting with fresh citrus flavor that you just cant get with traditional lemon/lime bars.
Perhaps the best thing about these Key Lime Bars is that they actually have some decent nutritional value. The crust is made with almond meal, giving it a nice punch of protein, and honey is the only sweetener- no refined sugar. That means that as a mom, I am happy to pack one of these as a special treat in my kindergartners lunch box!
So if youre lucky enough to find key limes at your local market (or have an awesome friend send you a whole box of em) I hope you give these tasty Key Lime Bars a try! Easy, healthy, and totally nom-nom-alicious these are sure be a favorite with your family.
***HERE ARE A FEW FAQS, UPDATED AS OF 4/25/16***
- YES regular limes work, but adjust your sweetness level accordingly.
- YES lemons work too, but again, adjust other ingredients to balance sweetness.
- These bars are NOT super sweet! They are more on the tart side, which pairs great with the sweeter shortbread crust. If you want a less tart, more sweet flavor adjust the coconut sugar/honey levels to suit your tastes.
- YES You can prepare the shortbread crust up to 3 days in advance of making the key lime filing. Just keep it tightly sealed in the fridge
- 2 cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ tsp unflavored gelatin (helps to hold the crust together)
- 8 TBS organic salted butter, cold and cut into TBS pieces (MUST BE COLD)
- 1 TBS coconut sugar (add more if you have a sweet tooth, 1 TBS is enough for me, but some people like it a tad sweeter)
- 2-3 TBS local honey
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 key lime, cut into quarters (NOTE: If your limes are SMALL you can use 2 limes for this step!)
- ½ cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
- 2-3 TBS local honey (Again, add MORE if you want a sweeter taste!)
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tsp arrowroot powder (Cornstarch works in a pinch)
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 3 TBS coconut milk (NOTE: This is the FIRM top layer of the FULL FAT coconut milk, not the liquid part. Also do not use lite coconut milk or cream of coconut, it will not work!)
- 2 TBS coconut oil, melted and then cooled to room temperature
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined and a “dough” is formed. You can taste test to see if any additional honey or salt is needed.
- Press the shortbread dough into a parchment lined 7×11 baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Remove from the oven, set aside, and reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Combine the key lime pieces, key lime juice, and honey into a food processor. Pulse until the lime is well broken down and you have extracted as much of the key lime flavor as possible.
- Next add the eggs, arrowroot powder, salt, coconut milk, and coconut oil and pulse until all of the ingredients are well blended.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the bits of lime peel. Pour the strained liquid mixture onto the shortbread crust.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes at 300 degrees, or just until the key lime filling is “set” and is no longer jiggly.
- Let cool, and garnish with additional key lime slices. Enjoy!