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Friday, December 2, 2011

Lime Cookies - Refreshingly Sweet

This post will probably begin a series of posts about cookies, since it is getting toward the christmas season, I get into the cookie making (and yes, cookie eating!) spirit and churn out dozens of tiny bites of yumminess.  I also am notorious of deciding at 9 PM on a weeknight that I just have to have cookies, and spending two hours making them.  I am a cookie fiend.  That is a confession I am not ashamed to make.  Cookies are a wonder, magical thing.  There are as many recipes for cookies as there are kinds of fancy, expensive ingredients in Mario Batali's kitchen.  They can be anything you want and lend themselves well to tweaking and customizing.  There are some very simple formulas for basic cookie dough that you can basically do anything with.  I like these, but how many ways can you really change a chocolate chip cookies? 

This recipe is not one of these.  It is unique, new, and probably nothing you've tasted before (unless you're priveleged.)  I , alas, can not claim as my own.  It is something I pulled off the 'net several years ago as kindof a "test" cookie to add to the winter sweets repertoire, and it was a HUGE hit.  They were all devoured in a matter of hours, leaving me lime-cookie-less and wishing I had made more.  I have also tried this recipe using lemon with the same result.  But let me say, there is something far more intriguing and bright about using lime in a cookie.  It is different and, dare I say, refreshing.  Try these, you won't be sorry. Well, you might be sorry when you eat them all, but you'll have a new favorite holiday (and low-liday) munchy treat.

Makes about 3 dozen

    * 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    * 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    * Finely grated zest of 2 limes
    * 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    * 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    * 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    * 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

   1. Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lime zest and juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.
   2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.
   3. Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment or wax paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.
   4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

These cookies will NOT brown.  If they do, you have baked them too long.  A teeny bit of color at the edges is not bad, but don't let them brown.  They also will not grow much from when you put them in the oven, they don't puff up like many cookies, you can place them close together on the baking sheet. They will look like they aren't done, but if you touch them lightly with the tip of your finger, you will be able to tell when they are dry and firm enough.  They are also delicate, and will break if roughly handled.  This is fabulous when you're eating them, as they are tender, and just crumble in your mouth, but it makes them slightly more difficult to store.  I suggest a tin.  I make one layer covering the bottom of the tin, then place wax paper over the layer, and make another one.  This works best in a large cookie tin.  I am now required to make at least two batches of these every year and both my family and my husband's family love them.

Wishing you the best cookie-making happy holiday luck!

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