Thursday, September 27, 2007

Key Lime Cookies

This was actually my first time baking with key limes. I've made plenty of key lime recipes in the past, however I've always substituted Persian limes because that's what I had on hand. Aside from being smaller and having thinner rinds, key limes are usually more tart than Persian limes. When shopping for key limes, note that the ripe ones are more yellow than green. The usual trick of checking to see which ones are most fragrant will also help you pick out the best ones.

During my most recent grocery run, I finally decided to purchase a bag of key limes to bake with :) For anyone wondering how many limes they need for a particular recipe, my 1 lb bag produced approximately 1-1/8 cup of juice.

These cookies taste like little mini key lime pies, due to the key lime curd found in the middle. The curd is rich, but its tartness is more noticeable than anything else. You can use the curd for a variety of different things; you can find a few recipe ideas here. I had never made a curd before, so I wasn't sure how I would know when it was 'done.' Be patient... you will notice the sauce slowly thicken as you mix it and then suddenly it will become creamy (it should be thick and slow to fall off the back of a spoon).

Key Lime Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup key lime juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups prepared key lime curd, recipe below
1 cup powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and the lime juice, and mix well.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to butter mixture until incorporated. Dough should be stiff but not dry. Shape into 1-inch balls, press thumb into center of balls to make an indentation, being careful not to press through to the bottom. Fill indentations with about 1 tablespoon Key lime curd.

Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Key Lime Curd

3 eggs
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup key lime juice
1 tsp key lime zest

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining ingredients (I added the eggs last, and tempered them slowly to avoid curdling), whisking continuously, for approximately 8-10 minutes or until it becomes a custard. Remove from heat and continue whisking for another 1-2 minutes.

Allow to cool and then pour into a jar and refrigerate. The curd will thicken considerably as it cools. Makes approximately 2 cups.


  1. Oh my god, that sounds absolutely amazing. Will try ASAP. Thanks for posting the recipe and the beautiful pictures (yay for super macro mode!).

  2. Thanks for the beautiful pics-- I'm inspired to try this recipe today! One trick I've heard of is to place a cheese grater over the bowl you are squeezing the limes into, to catch the seeds so you don't have to fish them out of the juice. :D

  3. Do you think it would be possible to use lime-flavored pastry cream instead of lime curd?

  4. anonymous - i'm still a novice baker so i don't have much experience baking with pastry cream, but i imagine that you would be able to make that substitution. my only thought would be that you would probably want to make the thumb print "well" in the middle of the cookie, bake it, and then fill the "well" with the pastry cream after the cookies have cooled. not sure how it would turn out if you filled it with pastry cream and then baked it? just sounds like that would mess up the pastry cream...?

  5. These cookies were so lovely! A perfect pick-me-up for a dreary winter day. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)