We tried, really hard. We even gave it a second try. And we will see how that turns out. All I know is that sometimes it’s not in the stars to come out with a victory.
But maybe you shall succeed with these! I wish you luck. They are a good challenge. And if they turn out, you will be in possession of squares of paradise: desserts that taste like a vacation in a hot Florida sun.
As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure these are really chock full of valuable vitamins and minerals. They’re chock full of animal crackers and condensed milk, however! Quite the trade off, am I right?
Even though these aren’t healthy, the act of making them is quite therapeutic (even if you don’t end up succeeding at following the recipe…). I spent time with friends and laughed! On a Sunday! Didn’t think that was possible (whaaat?).
We also ordered Thai food for lunch that was much more vegetable oriented than these dessert bars.
Also, this recipe is straight out of Cooks Illustrated. Yeah…
from cook’s illustrated
5 ounces animal crackers (about 1 1/4 C crumbs) (Try to resist eating all the animal crackers)
3 tbs light or dark brown sugar packed
4 tbsp butter melted and cooled slightly
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 C lime juice (do not use bottled juice) (BE STRONG!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!)
Garnish (optional) (NOT AN OPTION!!!! :) )
3/4 C shredded coconut toasted until crisp (I RECOMMEND THIS!!!!!)
~~note: I used about 5 limes~~
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
2. To Make Crust. In workbowl of food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1-second pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds. Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1-second pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.
3. To Make Filling: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).
4. To Assemble and Bake: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled at least 2 hours.
5. Loosen edges with pairing knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if using, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated up to two days; crust will soften slightly. Let stand at room temperature, about 15 minutes before serving.)