I remember my mother making a pan of sticky, tart, yellow squares one afternoon in our tiny kitchen. I remember my Aunt Meredith making the very best white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Last week, memories collided and danced around a bit in my head, and these lovely little bars were born.
All of our dreams have finally come true, we can now eat white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and lemon (lime, actually) bars at the same time. Why is that better than enjoying them separately in their pure, unadulterated states, you ask? Well, it’s not better, it’s just different. A wonderful kind of different.
It’s kind of like going shopping with two best friends instead of one. Except these bars would never team up and break your heart by telling you that the dress you adore actually makes your hips look like Jennifer Lopez in a funhouse mirror. Ouch.
Let’s make some bars!
We begin with a buttery, shortbread-like cookie crust. Butter, sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt form the base of our dough.
After the dough has come together, chopped macadamia nuts and white chocolate are folded in. I ate at least 1/4 cup of macadamia nuts while I was chopping away. I cannot get enough, they are just SO buttery.
The dough is pressed into a greased, 9x13 pan and then baked until just barely golden. Those oven-kissed edges will be your favorite if you are a cookie/brownie corner-loving kind of person.
Now for the filling. This filling is going to look way too thin, but don't panic. After the bars have baked and cooled, the filling will be the consistency of lemon curd - thick but gooey (I hate that word - new synonyms, please!).
A whole lot of lime zest goes into this filling. If you prefer your bars on the sweeter side, you may want to reduce the amount. I like them nice and tart myself.
I like the kind of tart where you can feel it in the back of your mouth. Do you know that twinge I'm talking about? I know you understand, you get me.
Now, while these are fairly tart, they are not sour. The three cups of sugar makes sure of that. Yes, I said three cups, memories in bar form are not fat free.
Now for the oven! These bars bake until the top is deep golden and the filling has set.
Then you have to wait for what feels like a lifetime to let them cool. It's the necessary evil of bar-making.
These are a "with coffee" kind of bar. Their tart flavor pairs perfectly with a strong, smooth brew.
This reminds me of early morning breakfast dates with my mama.
I like when one memory leads to another.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Lime Bars
makes one, 9x13 pan (about 21 bars) / recipe loosely adapted from Ina Garten
for the crust
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dry roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Sift in flour and salt and beat until well combined. Use a spatula to fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.
Press the dough into a greased, 9x13 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake the chilled cookie for 15-20 minutes, until the edges are just golden and the cookie has set.
Place on a cooling rack while you prepare the filling. Leave the oven set to 350.
for the filling
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- zest of 2-3 limes (mine were small so I used 3)
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Whisk in lime juice, flour, and lime zest.
Pour the filling over the cooled cookie crust and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until the top is deep golden brown and the filling is set. Place the pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until cool.
Cut into 21 even bars and dust liberally with confectioner's sugar. Store in airtight containers for up to 3 days! Enjoy!
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