Lime cookies, bringing home the lime! These crispy edged, chewy centered cookies have a dollop of tart and tangy lime curd baked into the center and a dusting of graham cracker crumbs for a pie like flavor.
These were inspired by my (very beloved) lemon curd stuffed cookies. It’s a basic sugar cookie recipe, made with a combination of sugars for a toss between shortbread and chewy sugar cookie texture. The cookie is made with melted butter to enhance that chewy center, and flavored with real vanilla and lots of lime zest.
But the best part is the center: tangy, tart, sharp and sweet lime curd sits right in the center. The cookies are dusted with some graham cracker crumbs, giving them a hint of lime pie cookie taste.
Limes: A firm, all over green lime is quite tart, a softer lime with a bit of yellow to its hue will have a nice balance between tart and sweet. Overly soft limes probably won’t be as tart.
Always use freshly zested and juiced limes to make lime curd. You’ll get brilliantly sharp, bright flavor. I like to rub the zest into the sugar to really get it to release it’s oils (and flavor).
Stirring: Much like a custard, fruit curds like to overcook on the bottom and occasionally curdle. This is because of the eggs in it. Therefore it’s essential you stir frequently, so that the whole curd will cook evenly and you’ll know the moment it’s ready to go off the heat.
Temperature: A thermometer is quite handy when making lime curd (or any curd really), while noting the thickness by running the curd off the back of a spoon is a good indicator, if you want to be precise you can check the temperature reaches 165-170 F.
Make this ahead of time – it’ll speed the day of baking process along considerably.
To make the curd you’ll zest and juice the limes then combine that with sugar and eggs. YOu’ll cook until it’s thick then combine it with the butter (after sieving out the bits – so you have a wonderfully smooth curd).
Lime curd is more yellow in color since lime juice isn’t quite green, and with the egg yolks it turns it primarily yellow. If you want your curd to look more ‘lime’ you can add a bit of green food coloring (I did).
Lime curd will keep in the fridge for about two weeks. You can also freeze it for months.
You’ll do this a day or at least four hours before you plan to shape and bake the cookies. A melted butter dough often needs time to rest, for the butter to firm up again. Without the rest and chill period, the cookies will be quite thin and spread too much in the oven.
But making the dough and chilling it also improves flavor; allows the flour to hydrate for good texture and for the lime zest to seep flavor into the whole dough.
Making this dough is simple: melt the butter, then whisk in the sugars, then egg, then flour. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge to chill.
The dough, straight from the fridge, will be stiff and hard to work with so take it out an hour beforehand so it softens.
Then you’ll portion it onto a cookie sheet. I use a cookie scoop to divide the dough equally.
With each dough ball, you’ll shape it into a ‘bowl’ by pressing with your thumbs. The goal is to make a deep bowl with a narrow opening at the top. The curd gets poured into the bowl then you’ll carefully squeeze the top to try to ‘close’ it. Leave some open though – so that the curd will be exposed when the cookie spreads as it bakes.
Last thing to do: sprinkle some graham cracker (or digestive cookie) crumbs on top.
I like to give these about ten minutes in the freezer before baking. It helps firm up the curd so that the cookies and curd will bake and spread nicely.
When they come out of the oven, add a bit of lime zest to the top. It gives it nice color and adds to that lime flavor.
The curd is baked, so in theory you could keep these at room temperature for a day. Any longer though, I’d say stick them in an airtight container and in the fridge.
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