Key Lime Shortbread Bars: A Zesty Dessert Delight

  Prepare to embark on a tangy and tantalizing journey with our Key Lime Shortbread Bars. These delightful dessert bars are a burst of sunshine in every bite, perfectly balancing the sweetness of shortbread with the zesty zing of key limes. Whether you’re seeking a sweet treat for a summer gathering or a zippy pick-me-up, these bars are sure to brighten your day. Let’s dive into this delightful recipe and unlock the fresh flavors of the Florida Keys!


For the Shortbread Base:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the Key Lime Filling:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 2 key limes
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice (freshly squeezed, if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Additional confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)


Prepare the Shortbread Base:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides for easy removal.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt.
  3. Add the cold, cubed unsalted butter to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan to create an even layer.
  5. Bake the shortbread base in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until it’s lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool while you prepare the key lime filling.

Create the Key Lime Filling: 6. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs, key lime zest, key lime juice, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. The mixture should be well combined and slightly frothy.

  1. Pour the key lime filling over the cooled shortbread base, spreading it out evenly.

Bake and Finish: 8. Return the baking pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set and the edges are lightly golden.

  1. Let the bars cool in the pan, then refrigerate for at least an hour to chill and set.
  2. Once fully chilled, use the parchment paper overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Place them on a cutting board and slice into squares or bars.
  3. If desired, dust the tops with a light sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Cook’s Notes:

  • If key limes are not available, you can use regular limes for a similar flavor. Key limes are smaller and typically more tart.
  • Ensure that your shortbread base is fully cooled before pouring the key lime filling to prevent any unwanted sogginess.
  • These bars are even more delightful when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a garnish of additional key lime zest.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator to keep them fresh and zesty.

Key Lime Shortbread Bars offer a delightful balance of sweet and tangy in every bite. They’re the perfect way to bring a slice of tropical delight to your dessert table. Whether you’re enjoying them as a refreshing summer treat or a year-round indulgence, these bars are bound to brighten your day with their zesty goodness.

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