Lime Meltaways

CATEGORIES: Cookies, Sara

First of all, can I get a cold drink?  Is anyone else experiencing a heat wave?? I can’t handle the triple digits much longer, it feels like winter again because I refuse to go outside and my kids don’t last more than 5 minutes out there because it’s too hot.  So we stay inside with the nice cold air conditioner (sometimes I even wear a sweatshirt!) and do things like bake cookies.  I’d like to get back to popsicles so I’m hoping it will cool off a bit.

So, normally we spread out the sweets and savories around here, but Kate pulled a fast one on me this week (sneaky, sneaky Kate!) and didn’t post the very savory dish that was on our calendar.  So hopefully you’re still in the mood for amazingly delicious citrus flavored goodies, because I have yet another one today!

This is an older Martha Stewart recipe and I sometimes just call them “shower cookies” because I make them a lot for baby and wedding showers.  They just seem pretty and dainty and they’re a good make-ahead/prep-ahead one.  If you’ve never made a “meltaway” style cookie, they get their name because they sort of just melt in your mouth.  There’s no eggs in the cookies, and there’s an addition of cornstarch and powdered sugar instead of granular.  All of those lend themselves to a buttery cookie with a tender crumb.   They’re easy-peasy.  I’ll show ya.

Start out with butter and sugar: two of my favorite things, that only get better when they’re together 🙂  And since we’re using powdered sugar (a must for meltaways) it’s light, smooth, and creamy.

Into the butter mixture goes vanilla and lime zest.  If you don’t own a microplane yet, pause before this step, open this link in a new tab, click “add to cart” (and make sure your cart isn’t already full of $168 worth of mega bloks like mine was just now, thank-you-very-much-six-year-old) and then come back here and continue.  Perfect example of a recipe that really benefits from a microplane zester.

Add a little flour, salt, and cornstarch and you’ll have a soft dough.  Don’t be worried if you taste the dough at this point (you know you did…) and it doesn’t taste sweet enough.  These little guys will be rolled in sugar and in the end the balance is perfect.

Roll it up into a log (reach back deep into your playdough-playing days) and wrap that sucker up.  This is what I love about cut and slice cookies:  you can make them up to this point and then keep them well wrapped in the fridge or freezer well in advance.  Makes party-throwing (or cookie-cravings) a breeze.

When you’re ready to make them, slice up the dough and place it on a baking sheet.

They bake for a little over 10 minutes, but the appearance doesn’t change too much.  They’re just barely golden around the edges.

When they’re still warm (but not hot) give them a douse of powdered sugar.  Martha tosses them in a ziplock bag, but I find that the tender cookies have a tendency to fall apart that way, so I just put them in a bowl an lightly coat them that way.

They’re cute and sweet, and have just the right amount of bright citrus.  I should add that what reminded me that I had never shared this recipe is note in a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living where this cookie was recommended as a good one to send to troops overseas.  We get tons of emails asking the same thing so I wanted to post this as an option!

Word to the wise:  don’t inhale when taking a bite of a powdered-sugar-covered cookie.  Obviously, I am not wise.


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  1. Thank you Sara!!! This cookie is exactly what I was looking for for a pool party I’m having this weekend! These cookies will be perfect for having with margaritas and laying out in the pool! The make ahead to bake later option will be a great time-saver that morning. As always, you’ve provided another fantastic recipe!

  2. Yeah……I’ve had that horrible coughing fit when inhaling the powdered sugar! Oy! Not fun! It will ruin (ok, put a damper on) the whole cookie-munching event! Good tip!

    These look great, too! Can’t wait to try them!

  3. Thanks for the tip that this cookie is good to be sent through the mail. I like to find cookies that I can bake and send to my grandmother and this might be next on the list. I wouldn’t have thought the powdered sugar would lend itself to packaging and sending? Doesn’t it get gummy and sticky after a bit? Maybe I’ll make some with and some without the extra sugar and see what happens. Thanks!

    1. What a lucky grandmother! They should be just fine if packaged well. I would still dust them in powdered sugar (they need the sweetness) but you don’t need to go as heavy as they are in my photo.

    1. Yeah that would probably work. Normally I’d advice against using anything but real butter- especially in a cookie like this where it’s one of only a few ingredients. But in the case of an allergy- I think they’d probably turn out fine, and Diego probably doesn’t care at all about the taste of real butter, so I say try it out!

  4. Oh thank you!! Thank you!! These are my favorite kind of cookie and I have never made them…I can’t wait to bake them…this is the only way you could get me to turn on my oven in this weather. 🙂

    1. I haven’t with this particular recipe, but I’m sure they’d be good. One of my other most favorite cookies, are these ones. They’re also a meltaway style cookie and have a little more cornstarch (and frosting too!) I’ve made that recipe in both lemon and orange and they’re fantastic.

      1. Found this recipe on page 121 of Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook. She says “other citrus juices and zests can be substituted for the lime juice and zest”. What is the yield? I’ve seen everything from 3 dozen to 5 dozen cookies. That’s quite a difference. How many do you get out of this recipe?

  5. Ok…lame question for those of us who have never baked cookies that you roll and cut later…but when you wrap them in parchment paper, do I need to also wrap plastic wrap around that? Or just wrap the whole thing ends and all in parchment?

    1. Totally not a lame question Cheree, I should have explained that! If you’re just putting them in the fridge for an hour or so to chill before cooking, parchment is fine. If you are going to store them longer, either in the fridge or freezer, then I’d tightly wrap the parchment roll in plastic wrap too. And actually, when I freeze them, I usually wrap in parchment and/or plastic and then stick it in a ziplock bag 🙂

  6. I feel ya on the terrible heatwave. I’m in Twin Falls and I work outside for both my jobs. Thankfully I’ve invested in a Camelbak and that keeps me from drying up and blowing away.

  7. Oh and YES, I can’t stand this heat either! We’re in South Louisiana and even though we’ve only gotten up in the mid 90’s it FEELS like a gazillion degrees!!

  8. I had a few limes I needed to use up and I’ve been pondering the last couple days what to make (I already did key lime pie, and lime bars) so these fit the bill perfectly. I doubled the recipe, and baked mine for 12 minutes. Tasty! They are dainty and girly but my hubby said the flavor is good.

  9. I love these cookies! I got the recipe a few years ago, but haven’t made them in awhile. Need to make some for my lime-loving daughter.

  10. These didn’t go over very well with my kids, but I didn’t mind them. I would have liked to taste the lime a little more, but I can see how they would be great for a baby shower.

  11. Delicious! I would recommend doubling the recipe though, for our family of 5 they’re going to be gone in no time. 🙂 I can’t wait to try orange and lemon too. Thank you for calling attention to such a great recipe! I also loved the fact that you can bake them squeezed together on one recipe as they don’t spread.

  12. Holy carp! These are delicious! I just made them for my hubby, and good thing this recipe makes lots of little cookies – so he’ll never know how many are missing! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. These are in the oven right now and my house smells divine! I took the remaining powdered sugar and mixed it with a tablespoon or so of left over lime juice to make a glaze to put on top instead of just sprinkling them with the sugar. It really adds to the flavor of the cookie-the lime pops!

  14. Oh man, my dough is in the fridge, made it last night and I swung over here to check cook temp and time and just realized that only 1/3 of the sugar went into the dough not the whole thing. Ugh, ok this is totally not your fault, I should not watch tv while I bake, but maybe in the recipe put “divided” next to the sugar just to foreshadow the division in the written text just in case any other wanna be bakers are as absent minded as me. Well I’ll bake ’em up and see how they turn out. Thanks for all the great recipes.

    1. Heather – you are not the first and certainly won’t be the last to put all the sugar in at once. I always warn friends when I pass on the recipe – only use 1/3 cup in actual cooking. I agree that it would be easier to divide it up into 1/3 cup for cooking and 2/3 cup required for rolling cookies in after they are cooked. Good to hear they turned out fine though, even with the overdose of sugar!!

  15. Good news, they turned out quite delectable with the extra sugar. I’ll have to try them again with the correct amount though.

  16. I have been making these for a while now and substitute Lemons or Oranges for the Limes if they are not available. I have just made up over 225 of these cookies for a Mad Hatters Tea Party this coming weekend to raise money for a mental health charity. I put each one into a smallish paper case and they look so pretty. I was explaining the recipe to a friend who also does cooking for charities and found your blog to be very informative showing each step, so have forwarded this to her. I also had to translate the ingredients into Australian as we call some of the ingredients by entirely different names! This certainly is a never fail recipe that is always well received.

    1. lemon juice if you’re doing lemon, orange if you’re doing orange, etc. You just need some sort of liquid.

  17. First off, thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I LOVE LIME COOKIES!!!
    But, I was planning on doing this cookie for a wedding shower and I’m a little afraid of the mess of powdered sugar. Could you suggest a frosting or glaze in substitution?

    1. You could sub another liquid for the lime juice (milk, perhaps) and just use a flavored extract of your choice. I’ve never done that but I think they would probably taste great.

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