Springtime Breeze Lime Sugar Cookies

“Those cookies are like eating sunshine. Like tasting a warm spring day.” This was the review my friend Bryan gave for a lime cookie recipe I was testing out. He promptly asked for the recipe. “Of course. Just give me a few days to write up the recipe,” was my reply. That was June 22, 2015—11 months ago.

Did I ever mention that I’m perpetually late?

If you are a fan of lime, these cookies are for you. They contain over 1.5 tablespoons of lime zest and the juice of one lime. This is not a typo. The zest and juice add depth to the sugar cookie base to make it a not too sweet, not too tart cookie. (Personally, I find plain sugar cookies bland and saccharine.)

LimeSugarCookies_websized

Springtime Breeze Lime Sugar Cookies | Cred: Melanie Cohen

Bryan, thanks for your patience. Here is your long-awaited lime sugar cookie recipe.

Lime Sugar Cookies

adapted from The Best Light Recipe

(makes about two dozen cookies)

Note: Make your own cake flour by removing one tablespoon of flour from the 1/2 cup and replacing it with one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons lime zest, plus the zest of one lime, divided
  • Juice of one lime, about a 1/2 tablespoon give or take

 Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Whisk the flours, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix 1.5 tablespoons of lime zest with 3/4 cup sugar. Best way to evenly combine them is by mixing the sugar and zest with your fingertips.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar/zest mixture together at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 min. Scraping down the sides as needed. Add the egg, vanilla and lime juice and continue to beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add flour mixture in thirds and beat each third until combined, about 30 to 60 seconds each time.
  5. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 30 to 60 minutes.
  6. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl and use your fingertips to mix in the zest of one lime.
  7. Roll level tablespoon of dough into balls. Roll the balls in the sugar and place on baking sheet 2 1/2 inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies, one tray at a time until edges are golden and centers are just set, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Pecan Sandies—An Unfussy Cookie Recipe

For me, the best way to celebrate—whether it’s for a birthday, job promotion, graduation or simply a good friend who always has your back—is to make someone one of their favorite food things.

Today, I’m celebrating with pecan sandies. What’s the occasion? My mom’s birthday. It’s one of her (and my) favorite cookies.

Pecan sandies are a simple, unfussy shortbread cookie; a crumbly and slightly sweetened mixture of butter, pecans and vanilla. Once baked and cooled, the cookies are rolled in powdered sugar and have the appeared of rounded snowy mountain peaks–likely why they often appear in holiday cookie trays. But being a favorite cookie in my family, they are made year-round.

PecanSandiesNaked_CredMel

Pecan Sandies (before the powdered sugar dusting) | Cred: Melanie Cohen

Because these contain only a few ingredients, you want to use the best quality. Store-brand butter is fine, but use high-quality vanilla and pecans. For the nuts, purchase them from store’s bulk bin versus buying a package. Bulk bins usually have a higher turnover rate, so you won’t find rancid nuts mixed in the bunch.

And if you can find Georgia pecans, this is the recipe to use them in.

You can also make the cookies into crescent or finger shapes. (Remember back when you made snakes out of Play Doh? Channel those skills. And it’s okay to eat this dough.) I am rarely able to roll each one the same width or length and often end up with a good chunk of underdone and overdone cookies in each batch. I’ll stick with the ball shaped version.

PecanSandieCrescents

A rare batch of relatively same-sized crescent shaped pecan sandies. Then I broke one. Oh well, still tastes the same

P.S. Your family may know these by one of their alternate names, which include Mexican wedding cookies and Russian tea cakes. The Los Angeles Times delved into why there are so many names for this one cookie.

 Pecan Sandies

(Makes 6 dozen, can halve recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp water
  • 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine chopped pecans
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

 Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and water. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add half of flour, mix until combined; repeat with second half of flour. Add two cups (all) of the pecans and mix until evenly distributed. Dough will be stiff. Refrigerate dough for one to two hours.
  3. Roll dough into one-inch balls (about a tablespoon) or roll into finger or crescent shapes. (Shaping the dough, no matter which option, is a great way to involve younger bakers.)
  4. Bake on parchment lined ungreased cookie sheet for 17-22 minutes at 325 F. Cookies will be done with the bottom is a light golden brown. The tops may still appear off-white. The bottom color is the key to knowing when this cookie is done.
  5. Let sandies cool completely. Then roll in powdered sugar.
PecanSandiesDressed

Pecan sandies are done. Let’s eat.

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