The tastes of summer- ice cream, BBQ anything, lemonade, popsicles, fresh picked strawberries, iced tea, and this-Key Lime
For Memorial Day, my parents came down to visit. As we planned what we would be eating, since after all everything we do revolves around food, I tried to figure out dessert. Either my grandma’s lemon bars or Key Lime pie were the two I had narrowed it down to. Then everything became crystal clear and I realized I could kind of have both in one, so I married the two desserts. I’m totally supportive of same course marriages.
I love how the meals I plan change with the seasons. No other season change is as exciting as this one. Summer is FINALLY just around the corner. I still get that excited-anxious-can’t-wait-for-no-more-school feeling as May comes to a close. It feels like just yesterday that my mom was picking my brothers and me up from our last day of school. What a thrill it is to exit those doors and know you have a couple months of freedom. As I watch my boys wind down and complete finals, I can’t help but remember what my summers used to be like.
The bulk of my childhood was in the 1980’s. Summer was not scheduled so tightly that we needed an Excel sheet to keep it straight. We simply had a backyard with a kiddie pool, bikes to ride around the block, popsicles, ice cream, a neighborhood pool pass, and lightning bug filled nights with Ghosts in the Graveyard. I played with the neighbors and ran through the sprinkler. WHY did hose water taste SO GOOD? I had lazy mornings with as much TV as I wanted, and the remainder of the day filled up with unplanned activities. Sleepovers were any night of the week, sometimes even a couple nights in a row. My blonde hair got lighter, my white skin turned golden, and my swim suit wore thin and stretched out. There’s nothing like summer break as a kid.
I’m always chasing a memory or feeling with the food I cook. With Key Lime Bars, I’m hunting down a carefree summer. With bright and tart Key lime juice and crisp graham cracker shortbread, this bar delivers that taste of summer.
With the start of every summer comes optimism, hope, and endless possibilities. It’s the season of MORE. Time to be outside more. See friends more. Travel more. Read more. Relax more. Laugh more. Exercise more. More projects. More fun. More sun. More. More. MORE.
This taste of summer is just the beginning. The anticipation builds just like a couple days before Christmas. It’s finally almost here, yet I don’t want it to actually get here because I don’t want it to be over. I’m going to appreciate every second of it.
Let’s get after it. Chase down every day. Get up early and stay up late. Have another scoop of ice cream. Pour another glass of wine. Run an extra mile. Go out with friends on a weeknight. Put the windows down and crank up the tunes. Let the kids run wild in the streets. Enjoy every second. Breathe in the warm air and celebrate. It’s finally SUMMER.
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup Key lime juice
- 1 1/2 cup sugar (add more if Key limes are especially tart - up to 1/2 cup more)
- 5 Tbsp flour
- Zest of 1 regular lime
- Extra powdered sugar for serving.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a food processor, pulse flour, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, butter, and coconut oil until it forms small clumps.
- Press into 9x12 glass baking dish, going up the sides about 1 1/2 - 2 inches.
- Bake 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling.
- Beat eggs with sugar.
- Blend into Key lime juice.
- Add lime zest.
- After crust is baked, pour filling over hot crust.
- Return to oven for 20 minutes more.
- Dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars. Serve the same day and freeze extras.