Friday, May 14, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 19

I love limes.  They are my favorite citrus.  It just so happens that limes are necessary for my two favorite adult beverages...margaritas and Corona!  Any day can be a palm tree'd oasis with one of these drinks in hand...even if it's 20 degrees and snowing outside.  Trust me.  I have tried this trick.  It really does help a person's state-of-mind, especially if you put on some appropriate music to help lift your spirits!

I have an ample supply of limes right now.  Limes are generally pricey, but at Sam's Club I can get a nice little mesh bag full of them for a very reasonable price.  It only makes sense to go that route this time of year.  I felt so inclined to stock up on limes a week ago in preparation for a little Mom's Night Out gathering I was hosting.  In honor of Cinco de Mayo, albeit a few days late, I planned to serve a few things in keeping with the theme...among those things...margaritas and Corona.  Limes were of the essence!

Being that I had a few left over, I decided to take full advantage and select a cookie this week using limes as an ingredient.  I have 2 or 3 such recipes that I have clipped or set aside.  One even includes the use of basil.  I am planning to try that one this summer when I have basil growing readily here at home, rather than pay a ransom to buy it at the grocery store.  Goodness only knows how "fresh" that basil really is anyway.

This week's cookie recipe is called Tart Lime Wafers and it comes from a cookbook I picked up at the library called "The Modern Baker" by Nick Malgieri.  Mr. Malgieri currently directs the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education.  You can learn more about Mr. Malgieri by visiting  Personally, I found reading this cookbook a bit stuffy.  It's for the purist.  I like things 'just so' myself, but I think these recipes are over-the-top in terms of technique.  With all due respect, I whole-heartedly believe that my cookies today likely turned out very nearly as good as the author's and yet, I simplified the steps a great deal.

Notice the beautiful green flecks of the lime zest!

Tart Lime Wafers
Here's What You'll Need:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 large limes
1 1/2 cups butter, slightly softened
2 eggs
Lime Sugar Coating-
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 large lime

Here's What You Do:
Let me start by confessing, I only baked half a recipe of these cookies.  The recipe claims to make 60 cookies, but I got 40 cookies from half a recipe.  You do the math!  Also, as I mentioned before, the author's steps are many and although not complicated, I found it unnecessary to use the food processor as directed.  My trusty Kitchen Aide stand mixer did the trick for me just fine.  Thank you very much!

I let the butter soften just a bit before I started since I knew I wasn't using a food processor.  I won't bore you with the actual steps from the book.  I'm going to give it to you straight up.  Short and sweet.  Plain and simple.  Keep in mind...I made a half recipe.  Perhaps the same results wouldn't occur using larger quantities of ingredients.

So, I put my flour, sugar, salt, lime zest and butter into the mixing bowl and turned it on low for a little bit.  Then I took a large dish towel and covered the bowl and cranked it up to high.  I was trying to simulate the food processor's madness when pushing the 'pulse' button.  Once these ingredients are incorporated, yet of a powdery texture, add your eggs.  Turn the mixer back on and mix on medium speed until your dough forms a ball.  You want it to all come together.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form a long log or two short logs. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest for the sugar coating.  Use your fingers to mix it together and even further, grind the lime zest into the sugar to release the flavorful oils from within the zest.  Your fingers will smell so good when you're done that you won't want to wash your hands.  You'll have to eventually because it would be gross if you didn't.  Buy some lime scented lotion if you like it that much!   Bath and Body Works sells a heavenly scented lotion called "Coconut Lime Verbena."

Now, take out a piece of parchment or wax paper and carefully scatter the lime sugar in a row the length of your log of cookie dough.  If you did two logs, divide the lime sugar between the two.  Roll the log in the lime sugar so you have a nice green, sugary coating covering the entire log of dough.  Wrap it up tight in the paper and stick it in the fridge for at least one hour.  You can bake one log now and freeze the other for later use.  If you freeze it, be sure to wrap it up tight to preserve the flavor!

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees when you are ready to bake.  Slice the dough off in 1/4 inch thick slices and bake for about 13 minutes.  Start out with 10 minutes and see how your oven is doing with this. 

These are a nice, simple shortbread-like cookie.  I like the unique twist of using lime zest. These cookies would make a nice food gift for someone wrapped up with a box of quality tea bags.


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