Monday, April 19, 2010

Lime Meltaways

Busy weekend. Mother Humble's visit from London was canceled because the Eyjafjotoomanyconsonantsjkull volcaono in Iceland is filling the skies over Europe with ash. She's postponing her visit until early next month and then we're leaving to visit her a week after that.

Meaning, that volcano needs to knock this whole eruption business off.

Seriously. I want all that ash to go away. Not just at low enough levels to fly through.


I'm one of those people who truly hate flying. Even though I'm no stranger to air travel, I figure I'm doomed every time I step on a plane (I don't know how you do it Mr. P). I don't need the idea of ash filled engines fluttering through my head for the 18 hour trip.


So this weekend I spent wrapping up the French Macaron 101. Well, almost wrapped up. Midway through the last few batches baking I had lined up, I dropped my much loved kitchen scale (RIP). So Mr. Humble will be bringing one home later today so I'll pick up with the macarons tomorrow and hopefully will have everything complete soon.

Lacking the complete macaron 101, I'm falling back on some of the other treats I made this weekend. Let's see, I have ice creams, pirogi, lamb, cookies... hmm.


More specifically ice box cookies. Though I am usually not a fan of ice box cookies--is there a version of that chocolate/vanilla stripe/bull's-eye cookie that is actually edible--I do love these. A light crisp cookie with the bright flavor of fresh lime that first crumbles and then melts in your mouth.

I've been on a bit of a lime kick lately, I know.

Anyway, these cookies are great for when want cookies but don't want to cook several dozen. The dough is kept chilled in your refrigerator or freezer and all you need to do when the cookie monster strikes, is carve off a couple slices and you're ready to bake.

Lime Meltaways
adapted from Cookies
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) (170) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (60g) powdered sugar
Grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (274g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (18g) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 drops lime green food coloring (optional)

powdered sugar for dusting

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy (if using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment for this step). Add the lime juice, zest and vanilla and beat the mixture until fluffy.

Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixer to the butter. Mix until combined.

Ready a two 8"x12" pieces of waxed paper or parchment. Divide the dough into two equal portions and roll into two 1.25" diameter logs. Wrap the dough tightly in the waxed paper or parchment. (The cookies pictured are slightly larger, at roughly 2" in diameter. You can also form a single 2" diameter log, but keep in mind at this size they're not sturdy enough to toss in powdered sugar.)

Chill for at least an hour before baking. The dough can keep for a couple days chilled in the refrigerator or frozen for up to two months.

When ready to bake:

Heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice the cookies 1/4" thick and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until they just barely start to take on some color. Allow to cool until just warm. Fill a plastic bag with a 3/4 cup powdered sugar and add a few cookies. Working in batches, toss the cookies to coat. One can also coat them by sifting sugar over the cookies.

Store the cookies for up to two weeks in an air tight container.


  1. Limes seems to come in a variety of sizes -- zest of two limes is about . . . how much?

    I love this recipe and can't wait to try it. So sad about your scale. May Mr. H find one that is a good replacement. I find these days so often when one of my 'old faithful' items dies, the stuff on the market that purports to replace it is often . . . dreck!

    Limey dreams - hey, maybe it's that British connection?

  2. Lovely cookies.

    I spent the morning rescuing a lime tree that had flopped over in a recent storm. It's loaded with unripe limes and fresh blossoms, so I should be ready to make several batches by next winter.

  3. I made these a while ago and your post just reminded how amazingly delicious they are. I love your photos too!

  4. Those look amazing! Definitely something I'll be trying soon. :)

  5. Ah, the cookie monster makes an all too common appearance around my house. These cookies look totally gorgeous and I love the idea of having the dough just waiting for me in the fridge for whenever hunger strikes :)

  6. Ahhh yay, a Humble recipe I can make... No eggs! :D Oh happy day!

    P.S. The pictures are gorgeous!

  7. That's true.

    It was nearly two tablespoons (not packed) of zest. Approximately two smaller limes or one large lime.

    The scale-destruction is very sad and now I'm worried Mr. Humble will bring home an even more breakable one (he has been eyeballing a scale with an absurd glass top). Of course, all I want is the exact same model as my old one.

  8. Don't knock the glass-top scales; I have a nice (cheap) one. I love it because the surface is more hygienic than plastic... no nooks for bacteria to grow. (Yes, I suppose I should put a bowl on the scale first, but sometimes it's nice not to dirty another bowl.)

    Anyway, I have these chilling in the fridge now. I found the dough to have a very loose crumb when I wrapped it, so hopefully they turn out...

  9. I totally think I'm going to die every single time I get on an airplane (and for the whole week beforehand). It's pretty ridiculous.

    But those cookies are NOT ridiculous. They're amazing looking.

  10. When you say "rotating halfway through", do you just mean turning the baking tray around in the oven? Or turning the cookies?

  11. Follow-up: Mine aren't nearly as pretty, but they are tasty. The texture is lacking... for the recipe my large bowl was way too big to mix well, and I forgot to add the liquid (lime, vanilla) before I added the flour, oops.

  12. Sorry to keep commenting; one more thing: if we're going to get as precise as "1 3/4c + 2 Tbps flour" then measurements by weight would be awesome.... otherwise, it might as well be 1 3/4c or 2c.

  13. The color in your meltaways are AMAZING! Wow. Great photos as usual. Your macarons are lovely as well.

    I'm so sorry you dropped your scale!! I know how you must feel. I depend on my scale for almost everything I bake.

  14. 'I don't need the idea of ash filled engines fluttering through my head for the 18 hour trip. '

    Thanks for that, Ms. H! :) I am stuck, and not going anywhere anyway.

    Lovely cookies by the way! xx

  15. WA_side,

    One needs to rotate the pans, not the cookies.


    The texture difference is likely due to the order in which the ingredients were added. Or possibly how annoying flour can be to measure by volume (depending on how you measure it out: scooped vs spoon filled you can have up to a 30g variation per cup). When I made these, the dough came together nicely and was easy to shape and roll into a log.

    As for weights, I could have posted the weights along with the volumes for these cookies but as I mentioned, I dropped my scale. That is exactly why I shouldn't own one with a pretty glass top.

    Mr. P,

    I hope you're stuck somewhere nice!

  16. Those cookies look wonderful -- Great photos as always! Can't wait for French Macarons 101!!!

  17. Believe me when I say we in Iceland want this eruption to stop too... It has done enough damage already.

    Here are some picture if you want to see more of what is going on:

    And here a little help to learn how to pronounce the name of the glacier :)

  18. I am with you. Man is not supposed to fly, it is just not normal! We have to fly back to Texas from Germany in early July. I am trying to find a way to convince the state dept to buy me a boat ticket instead of a plane ticket. I think this ash is justification enough.

    The cookies look delish, I can't wait to try them, but right now I need to go make a batch of fudge.

  19. i am curious & i am certain others may be as well...what scale did mr h buy for you? please share!

    your photography is just beautiful...your meltaways look so enticing!

    btw: a friend of mine took a "fear of flying" course & he is now a relaxed flier... :)

  20. These cookies look like such a refreshing change from most typical recipes, I can't wait to make them soon! I especially love the way the lime color actually stays true in the cookies, since for most recipes with fruit the color gets diluted out. The photos are especially stunning...

    I was curious about two things: (like others) Before it sadly perished, what kind of scale did you have? And second what are those gorgeous bright blue flowers that you photographed to so nicely compliment the cookies? :)

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. My new scale is an Escali p115c. Unfortunately Mr Humble couldn't find my old scale model at our local Sur la Table. This one looks similar, was recommended and the price is right so I'm pretty happy.

    I've been using it all morning baking macarons, feeding my sourdough starter and it seems to work fine.

    Now I just need to keep it from getting knocked off the counter...

    As for the flowers, I have absolutely no idea what they are. They're blooming in my yard now. They're some sort of low bushy shrub. The intense blue color contrasted the cookies nicely so I couldn't resist plucking a few.

  23. Just what we need...something else to worry about when we fly.
    Aren't you in science? Couldn't you put a bit more effort into teletransportation? The macarons may suffer though...

  24. Ms. Humble you are an inspiration.
    I can't wait for french macaron 101.

  25. i baked these tonight and they tasted good. i would have liked a little more lime flavour though! maybe i needed more zest.
    also, i found that my dough was too crumbly so i added almond milk by the teaspoons until it was easier for me to form together into the log shape.
    this seems to happen to me with any sort of shortbread or sugar cookie even if i follow the instructions exactly. any ideas?

  26. Triska,

    Oh gosh, there are so many possible reasons...

    My best guess though would have to do with the pesky nature of measuring by volume (how compact your flour is in your measuring cup makes a pretty big difference). Because of this it is best to spoon flour into a measuring cup and level, not scoop from the bag/container.

    Or perhaps the moisture content in your flour? To quote Joy Of Baking:

    Flour, when packaged, has about a 14% moisture content. When stored, however, its moisture content will vary. In general, the longer flour is stored the more moisture it loses. This is why on a dry day using old flour your pastry will require more water than on a wet day using new flour.

    I live in a humid area with a constant supply of new flour, so perhaps this is why this cookie dough formed so easily for me.

  27. a tablespoon seems like an awfully large amount of vanilla?

  28. I made these this afternoon and LOVE them. Very delicate in flavor, not overpowering lime, and they do melt in your mouth. My finished products are, as usual, not as pretty as yours. I have to tell you I love making your recipes!

  29. Well, I finally got around to making them today, and I weighed my dry ingredients for you.

    60g powdered sugar
    274g flour
    18g corn starch
    1/4 tsp salt (impossible to weigh outside the lab)

    And either your cookies spread quite a bit, Ms. Humble, or your logs were more like 2.5" in diameter. 1.25" is just a smidge bigger than a quarter and made fat little lumps of cookie.

    I actually made two half batches and used lime in one and lemon in the other. They're just as good with lemon!

  30. The cookies from these photos were from logs were closer to close to 2". They look nice but they absolutely fall apart when tossed in a bag full of powdered sugar, hence I decided to post Martha's slightly smaller specifications.

    I thought I mentioned that in the post but I don't see it. I'll fix that shortly and I'll add your weights (thank you very, very much for weighing it out for me!)


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