Oh, citrus, how I love thee… The season can’t be long enough for me, but I do appreciate the rhythm of nature in saving the best for last! Key limes are a blast of citrus nirvana that is enough (almost) to carry me until next winter!

Of course I made a pie… You know, the one with sweetened condensed milk and eggs and graham crackers and yes, it was creamy dreamy good… But with the rest of my limes I was craving something a little different…something a little more tart…something a little more decadent…

So I started searching… Leave it to a Southern girl to take a buttery shortbread-like cookie crust, cover it with a concentrated punch of sticky lime goodness, douse it all in powdered sugar and bake it up in a LARGE pan so there is plenty to go around! That is the genius that is Gina Neely.

I made this immediately! I hovered over it waiting for it to cool so I could sift it with powdered sugar… I devoured the raggedy edges for tasting inspiration before I took pictures… I coaxed the last rays of winter light over the plate because I wanted you to SEE and KNOW how fantastically puckery and wonderful these bars are!!! (And I ate all the bars in the photo because they were taunting me…true story… I implore you to make these now!)

Gather Up:
Cookie Crust
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 /2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups flour
Pinch kosher salt

Lime Topping
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.

To make the crust, combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the flour and the salt, and mix another minute until well combined.

Pat the dough out to an even thickness over the bottom of the pan, and then gently push up and build an edge all around. (This will prevent the filling from seeping down underneath the crust when it is added later.)

Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and let cool completely on a rack.

To make the topping, whisk together the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the flour and whisk until just combined. Whisk in the lime juice and the zest.

Pour the lime topping over the cooled crust and return to the 350 degree oven. Bake for an additional 25 minutes until the filling is set.

Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Generously dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares. Bars will keep 2-3 days at room temperature.

Recipe from “Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook”