Buttery soft shortbread-based thumbprint cookies filled with a sweet, tangy key lime filling. The perfect marriage of sweet and tart.
It’s not a secret to anyone around me, whether someone known intimately or not, that I suffer from something of an addiction.
Suffer isn’t the right word, really (I’d much rather say “enjoy”)… but I do have an utter inability (fused with the innate lack of desire) to break free from my kitchen and just step away from the KitchenAid and put down the butter. Responsibilities that must be seen to, family affairs, exercising/training my puppy, this is pretty much the sum of the list of things that will get me out of the kitchen (occasionally I’ll drag myself to the gym as well, but it’s the first thing to give way on my list if I find myself pressed for time).
My sister, born a social butterfly, brings this to my attention whenever she can. “When are you going to get a life?” she asks, whether directly or implied. It’s a question that she’s been asking me since we were in middle school (though she minces her words better now than she used to, and I believe her intentions are good).
She doesn’t understand how I could prefer the company of flour and butter and two dozen large brown eggs to that of a hoard of sweaty-skinned strangers mulling about a concert venue.
But I do.
It’s not that I never leave my kitchen, that I’m a blonde Gollum in my kitchen-cave caressing my precious KitchenAid (yet), but I’m perfectly happy to be busy creating in my kitchen.
This past weekend my preference for baked goods over social interactions paid off yet again. My sister discovered caving (look, Casey, which one of us is really in a cave here?). I created Key Lime Thumbprint Cookies. Both of us are thrilled. I think that’s just fine.
I also think that these cookies with their buttery-soft shortbread bases (made with brown sugar to keep them extra soft) that melt in your tongue demanded to be brought into the world and I would have done a disservice to not make them. The Key Lime filling went through many versions, starting with a true key lime pie filling (which required a too-long-for-my-taste period of “setting” and then really required being kept in the refrigerator, which I didn’t like) and ending with this white chocolate based, distinctly key lime flavored filling (no refrigeration required). The cookies are sweet and soft with just enough tang from the lime to make your taste buds pucker, in a good way.
If your tastes are a bit more key lime and butter and a little less social butterfly-esque, then I have a great suggestion for how you may wish to spend your upcoming weekend.
Conversely, these cookies are a great, easy treat to bring to any social function you may have coming up. There’s no reason you can’t have both, right?
Key Lime Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted sweet cream butter softened, 2 sticks
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
Key Lime Filling
- 1 cup premium white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3 Tbsp key lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest optional (key limes are expensive, I just used zest from a regular lime)
In KitchenAid or with hand mixer beat butter until creamed.
Add brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Stir in vanilla and egg yolk, pausing to scrape down the sides and mixing until ingredients are well-combined.
Add flour, gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time), pausing to scrape down sides of bowl. Halfway through the addition of the flour, sprinkle in the salt with the beater still running.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper (if using. An ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet will also work).
Roll cookie dough into approximately 1" balls and use thumb to create indent/crater in the center. Space cookies at least 1" apart.
Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes and allow to cool completely on pan.
Key Lime Filling (do not make filling until the cookies are cooled, if allowed to sit too long the filling will begin to harden so you want to make sure all of the cookies are ready before proceeding).
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine white chocolate chips and condensed milk.
Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and ingredients are well-combined.
Add Key Lime juice and lime zest and use a whisk to combine (the juice will take a little coaxing and stirring before it is well-combined with the condensed milk and chocolate chips, just keep whisking until the juice is no longer separated).
Reduce heat to low and spoon filling into thumbprints of cookies. Allow to cool completely before serving (filling may still be a little tacky to touch, even when cooled completely. This is normal).
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