Key Lime Cookies

{Countdown to Christmas Cookies Series~ Week 5}

I know for some key lime is associated with summer and popular items such as Key Lime Pie.   I always like to incorporate a citrus cookie in my holiday cookie repertoire.  As I mentioned last week when I featured Orange Yogurt Muffins, citrus reminds me of Colonial Williamsburg.  I also like to add in a bit of citrus in to my baking as it is a nice way to mix up the flavors during the the holidays.

Having a tray of Key Lime Cookies may be a welcome addition to your holiday cookie exchange or your cookie buffet.  These delicate cookies have just the right amount of key lime flavor.  Not overpowering, just sweet and delicious.  If you are a fan of key lime pie, you will definitely enjoy these little bites of goodness.

These cookies only require a few ingredients, and take just minutes in the oven to bake.  You want to keep a watch of them so they don’t over bake.  I like to pull my cookies around six minutes as I enjoy them to be soft and chewy.  If you prefer yours to be harder, let them bake a little longer but keep an eye on them so the they don’t brown to much.

I also like to make these thick.  I roll out my dough about 1/4 inch thick.  You have flexibility if you choose to make these thinner of a harder cookies, or thicker for a chewy cookie.  If you go thicker or thinner, you will just have to gage the time of them baking as they may only need to bake shorter or longer than my suggested cooking time.

Who can resist frosting?  Well, what if you had a choice?  Cream cheese frosting with a hint of key lime versus buttercream frosting with a hint of key lime.  Both are delicious and the perfect compliment to top these cookies.  Do some of with each kind of frosting (that’s what I do) or pick your preference.  I prefer the buttercream frosting over the cream cheese but whichever one you choose, I’m sure they will be a hit!

Key Lime Cookies

Makes approximately 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soften
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest (about 2 limes)
1/4 cup key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon milk*

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)

Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in lime zest, key lime juice and vanilla until combined.  Gradually mix in flour until blended.  

Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface roll dough to 1/4 inch thick (or desired thickness).  Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and bake for 6-8 minutes, do not over bake.  Let cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.  

Key Lime Buttercream Frosting
Using an electric mixer on medium speed combine butter and confectioners sugar until blended.  Stir in key lime juice followed by vanilla extract and milk until creamy.
*If buttercream is to thick, add in another teaspoon of milk until desired thickness.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
Using an electric mixer combine cream cheese and confectioners sugar until combined.  Stir in key lime juice and vanilla extract until creamy.  Add in food coloring if desired.  

The frosting recipes are for 1/2 batch in cream cheese and 1/2 batch in buttercream.  If you want all the cookies frosted in just cream cheese or buttercream, double the frosting batch of desired frosting.

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