Deliciously tart Lime Sugar Cookies, made with real lime zest, and sweetened with sugar and a touch of honey, are the perfect afternoon tea time confection!
I have to confess something, Dear Reader. These cookies came to life out of a need to use up the limes I had on hand before they lost their freshness. I had purchased a bag of limes from Costco to make Limeade. I also needed limes for my guacamole. But, as you know, everything at Costco is always more than you need!
When I am trying to think of a new recipe idea, I will often scroll through the recipes I have already published here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen. When you have so many recipes, it’s easy to think you’re creating something new when in fact you’re not!
So the scrolling helps to do two things. First, it eliminates recipe repitition. And, secondly, it triggers many “what if” moments. Like, what if I used brown sugar instead of white and added dark cocoa powder and molasses? It’s those moments that I have the most fun with recipe development.
That was exactly the case with these. I had a pre-existing cookie recipe that was unlike any other cookie recipe on my blog. I remembered loving the interior texture of the cookie and decided to recreate it with a burst of citrus flavour. Here’s the breakdown!
There’s no Substitute for Lime Zest!
Period! My Dearest Reader, if you do not have two or three limes on hand, please do not make this recipe at this time. You cannot make this recipe and expect it to taste right without fresh lime zest.
The only exception to this is if you wanted to change out the lime zest for lemon zest. That would do. In fact, that would be perfect if you prefer the taste of lemon over lime. Orange zest would work well too!
Many moons ago, I was married to McKenna’s mom. Her dad was a cook with the Canadian Coastguard for over 40 years. Long before I had developed an interest in cooking, he taught me the importance of washing citrus fruits.
When you bring home limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, etc., from the store, you should wash them. I like to wash all of my produce under cold running water. The skins on the citrus fruits has passed through many hands, and maybe even crossed borders!
Think of how many people have picked up that lemon at the grocery store, or may have sneezed near it, or even rubbed their jacket or shirt up against it. I might not eat the skin, but I’m going to touch it and then cut through it. Am I not then pushing germs into the flesh of the fruit? Yuck! Just wash everything before you stash them in your fruit bowl.
Should I Roll these in Sugar or not?
As you can see from the photographs – mostly the overhead photos – I opted to roll some of the cookies in coarse sugar before baking them. The option is yours. Roll them all or just do half.
If you roll the cookies in the sugar before you bake them, they will have a different texture. The sugar not only adds sweetness, but it also changes the outside texture of the cookie. The cookie will be more brown on the bottom and will have a crunchier exterior.
Cookies without the sugar will have a smoother exterior. You won’t get that crunchy bite. And the bottom will be just a little bit less brown. Rolled in sugar or not, the interior of the cookie will still be moist and citrus-y!
Keeping the Cookies tasting Fresh:
Here’s the deal, Dear Reader. These cookies do not lend themselves well to freezing. When thawed, the inside loses their softness, and the strength of the fresh lime lessens quite drastically. They will taste okay. They will still have a mild citrus flavour. But the freshness of the lime zest will be gone.
This recipe does not make a large batch of cookies. You’ll get 24 cookies, which is an average batch of cookies, but they are a bit smaller. Besides, they’re great, so they won’t last long. I recommend storing them in a food safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Let them sit on your counter at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Lime Sugar Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 large eggs, yolks separated from the whites (keep both!)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons lime zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coarse sanding sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to blend together the flour, sugar, and butter until the mixture comes together and resembles the look and feel of wet sand.
- Add the salt, honey, milk, 2 tablespoons of the lime zest, and the egg yolks. Mix well to combine.
- Knead/gather the cookie dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- In the meantime, stir together the coarse sugar and the remaining tablespoon of lime zest. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled, use a small cookie scoop to evenly portion the dough. Roll into balls and set aside.
- Use the palms of your hands to flatten the balls into a circular shape. Dip it into the egg whites. Gently shake off the excess egg and roll the cookie into the sugar and lime zest mixture. Place the cookie onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a full 10 minutes on the baking sheet before attempting to remove the cookies.
- Use a flat metal spatula to transfer the cookie from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Allow the cookie to fully cool. Enjoy!