Welcome the First Day of Spring with Key Lemon Cream Bars

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With Spring right around the corner, I wanted something that would welcome the flavors. My creation, Key Lemon Cream Bars! You have a shortbread crust and a Key Lime, lemon, and cream cheese filling to wake up your taste buds! Very easy to make and I hope you enjoy them too.  These would also be great for St. Patrick’s day because they are quick to make.

Crust:
1 Salted stick of butter and 1 Unsalted stick of butter (softened)
110 grams of Powder Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
3 drops of Almond extract
300 grams of all-purpose Flour

I used a mixer and blended the butters, powder sugar, and extracts until smooth and creamy. I then incorporate the flour until just blended. I used a lasagna dish, sprayed with cooking spray (I use Pam with flour) and pressed the shortbread to create a crust. I then used a fork to dock before baking at 350 degrees.

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I pre-baked the crust for 20 minutes and then took the crust out. With a spoon, I then pressed down on the crust so it could retain it’s shape and baked an additional 10 minutes.

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I took the crust out and just to make sure things stayed flat as much as I wanted, I again smashed softly with a spoon. Just in case the crust tries to misbehave! While my crust slightly cooled, I started with the filling.

Cream Filling:
One 8 ounce bar of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 ounce of Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime juice
1 ounce of Condensed Milk
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
5 teaspoons of Powdered Sugar
2 ounces of all-purpose Flour

Lemon Top: 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd

I softened the cream cheese in the microwave on the defrost setting because this girl is short on time. I then blend in the Key lime juice. If you don’t have key lime juice, a good substitute is lemon juice and you can try anything from lime to even juice from a fresh Key Lime. You can even add zest from a citrus fruit, so do what you want to make it your own.

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1 ounce of Condensed Milk.

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I then add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

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5 teaspoons of powdered sugar and I moved up to a small whisk because I want to keep the batter smooth.  I blended a teaspoon at a time to make sure everything would incorporate easier.

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Next comes the 2 ounces of flour and I whisked until smooth.

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I put that aside and then in a small separate bowl, you add 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd.

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Assembly is a cinch!

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I spread out the cream filling first as evenly as time can allow.  I was getting close to dinner time and knew these needed to be done and cooled within a couple hours.

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Next the 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd and I tried to be cute and make swirls!

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I then just finish baking at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine were ready in 27 minutes and I did add foil on top for the last 10 minutes because I had to step outside and needed I prefer to be safe than sorry.

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I cooled for an hour outside the fridge and then for 45 minutes in the fridge.  I then set the pan outside for 10 minutes before cutting.  I did this because the butter in the shortbread is easier to cut when it comes down in temperature.  This avoids cracks and I can make nicer looking squares.

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The final product I dusted lightly with powdered sugar for presentation.  These taste great and what I like best, the Lemon and Key Lime is present but does not force you to engage your pucker power abilities.  I love lemon but my Hubby not as much so this satisfied both of us!

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