Posted by: njbrown | January 6, 2011

Key lime shortbread cookies

Key lime shortbread cookies

Many years ago, I decided to give myself the ultimate treat – a set of Spode Christmas Tree dishes.  The set grew slowly, and is now about ten place settings with a number of serving dishes.  To have a set of dishes to be used one month of the year seems completely impractical, but I really, really love Christmas.  In our house, the Christmas tree stays up almost until the pick-up truck from the town starts down the laneway.  The dishes continue to be used even after the tree is gone – sometimes into the bleak days of February.  For those who can’t get to the Keys in winter, Key lime cookies are a lovely way to travel mentally with a cup of tea or coffee.

I found the recipe for Key lime shortbread cookies in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but they can be made with regular margarine or butter if you want.  (Be aware, you need to be careful what kind of margarine you use to achieve the desired texture – Earth Balance Original is recommended.)  They are crisp but flakey with a wonderful lime flavor.  Using Nellie and Joe’s double-strength Key lime juice was part of my success, and it’s almost time for my sister to send some more bottles across the border.  (For those readers with very sharp eyes, you will notice that I didn’t roll the cookies in coarse sugar, having gone to three different store to find it without success.)

Key Lime Shortbread Rounds (makes about 30)


  • ½ cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • ⅓ cup nonhydrogenated margarine softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup lime juice, preferably concentrated Key lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 generous teaspoons finely grated lime zest (about 2 small limes or 4 to 5 Key limes)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Large crystal decorating sugar for rolling – about ¼ cup


  1. In a large bowl, using electric beaters, cream together the shortening and margarine until fluffy and creamy.
  2. Scrape the bowl then beat in the powdered sugar until thick and smooth.
  3. Add the lime juice, vanilla and lime zest and beat for about 30 seconds to mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add half of this mixture and beat to moisten the ingredients.
  6. Add the remaining flour and beat for about 1 minute until a soft ball of dough forms.
  7. Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a separate large sheet of wax paper.  Roll each half into a log about 7 to 8 inches long by 1 ½ to 1 ¾ inches thick.
  8. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of decorating sugar in a line onto wax paper and roll a log to coat the outsides in sugar.  Repeat with remaining dough log.  Wrap each log tightly in wax paper and chill for at least 1 hour until very firm.
  9. Preheat over to 350 F.
  10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. With a thin, sharp knife, cut ½ inch slices of dough.  Place slices on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  12. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly puffed and edges are just beginning to turn golden.  Do not over bake as the cookies will very rapidly turn golden brown.  (I found that I needed to check the undersides after 9 minutes.  The undersides brown far faster than the tops!)
  13. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to complete cooking.

As they say in the restaurants, “Enjoy!”




  1. […] Watermelon Cookies and key lime shortbread rounds. […]

  2. Key lime shortbread rounds? Very good 4 breakfast?

    • I think cookies are good any time – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.

      Best wishes,


      • Yes, it may be, Nancy. But we eat them here in Italy mostly at breakfast.

      • How wonderful! I always knew Italians were highly intelligent and had very sophisticated palates.


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