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It’s the dog days of summer (not sure what that actually means).  Whatever, it’s stinkin’ hot out there.  I’d wager that wherever you live in America, most folks are ready for summer 2012 to wrap on up and move along.  It’ll be quite some time before we see significantly cooler weather here in the South, but I’m hoping for a few breaks here and there signaling that fall (and football!) is on its way.  A girl can dream, right?!

Until then, here’s a recipe for a summer-y cookie that has a nice light flavor…and in my opinion, looks kinda pretty to boot.

I actually made these a few weeks ago for a meeting we had at work.  I knew the team would be eating the standard catering fare all day and thought that a homemade pick-me-up would help fuel our afternoon brainstorm…especially, if it brought a little taste of summer into the conference room.  Enter, key lime cookies.

For this recipe, you’ll be using two different parts of the lime:  lime zest and lime juice.

Key limes aren’t always the easiest thing to find.  So, when it comes to the lime zest portion of this recipe, a standard lime will do.  I know, they are called key lime cookies.  But, if you only have access to regular ol’ limes – it’s okay to be a rebel.  Just use what you’ve got.

As for the lime juice…well, that’s another story.  You really need to use key lime juice in order for the flavor to be spot-on.  Don’t panic though!  If you can’t find key limes (or, if you’re like me and you don’t want to squeeze a million tiny key limes by hand), you can buy bottled key lime juice.  It’s usually in your bottled juice aisle of the grocery store…precariously perched on the tippy top shelf (or maybe that’s just a short girl problem).  Ahem.  Moving on.

The cookies are delicious straight out of the oven without any extra flourish or toppings.  However, what’s a piece of key lime pie without whipped cream?  Yeah, that’s what I thought…good, but not great.

Looking for something that could sub for the whipped cream and work with a cookie, I decided to use a white chocolate bar that had been sitting in my pantry – no doubt purchased for some grand baking scheme that I have now forgotten.  You can use white chocolate chips if you prefer.  Just melt in your microwave and drizzle on top of the cookies.

Looking better, but I still wasn’t satisfied.  My mind was remembering the only key lime cookies I’ve ever had – key lime coolers, which are rolled in powdered sugar.  So, I sprinkled a little bit of that on top as well.

Aww, yeah.  Two snaps up! Enjoy!

Key Lime Cookies

  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 (3oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. key lime juice
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 c. (or 1 bar) of white chocolate
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the flour and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended.  Stir in the eggs, vanilla, lime juice and lime zest.

Add the flour mixture.

Using rounded spoonfuls, place the dough balls onto cookie sheets that are lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner.

Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown.  They may still look a little under-done.  That’s okay, they’ll keep cooking on the tray as they cool.  Once they are comfortable to touch, transfer to a cooling rack.

If desired, after the cookies are cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate (zap in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds and stir.  If it’s not melted yet, continue to zap it at 15 second intervals until it’s ready. You don’t want to burn the chocolate).

Oh, and be sure to put paper towels, wax paper or foil underneath your cooling rack to catch the drips.

For a final finish, dust the cookies with a little bit of powdered sugar.