Lunchbreak: Key Lime Butter Cookies

Midday News

Lindsay Navama

Book: Hungry For Harbor Country


Tiffy’s Summertime Key Lime Butter Cookies

Makes 24–30 soft, tart, buttery cookies 

45 min active time 

2 hrs start to finish

Butter Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons real Key lime juice (I love Nellie & Joe’s)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum or regular all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour.)

Key Lime Icing

1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons real Key lime juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon sea salt

Green food coloring (optional)

Tips for Success

Don’t overmix the dough or it will become tough. Package these up for a delicious host gift!


Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Brush lightly with oil and set aside.

Make the Dough 

In a medium bowl using a whisk, an electric handheld mixer, or a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Pause the mixer and add the egg yolk, vanilla, Key lime juice, and salt, and then mix on medium speed until just combined. Pause the mixer to add the flour and, moving from low to medium speed, mix until just combined.

Bake and Cool 

Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1-inch diameter) or a tablespoon, drop the dough in balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Briefly roll each scoop between your palms to form more perfect balls. Special Note: If you prefer a slightly thicker, chewier cookie, refrigerate the dough balls for 10 minutes before baking. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and lift up easily with a spatula. Once done, leave on the baking sheets to cool completely, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool them more quickly by putting them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes.

Make the Vanilla Key Lime Icing 

While the cookies cool, make the icing. In the bowl of a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer in a medium bowl), add the confectioners’ sugar and mix for about 1 minute to remove any lumps. Add the Key lime juice, vanilla, and salt. Mix on medium to medium-high speed until smooth. Add 1 to 2 drops of the green food coloring (if using), then mix for an even color. Add warm water as needed until you can easily drizzle the icing with a fork.

Ice the Cookies

Once the cookies are completely cooled, dip a fork into the icing and then drizzle it quickly and evenly back and forth over the cookies to make stripes. (Whisk the icing as needed if a layer of crust has formed.) Let the icing harden on the cookies for about 30 minutes before serving, or for 1 hour before storing.

Let’s Eat! 

These cookies will last in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month . . . but honestly, they tend to get eaten in about 24 hours because they’re bite-size, buttery, and oh so craveable!

Reprinted with permission from Hungry For Harbor Country by Lindsay Navama, Agate Publishing, May 2020.

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