key lime meltaways

Alex loves limes. I mean, loves them. He eats them, and no, I don’t mean dusted in sugar. No, not squeezed into a glass of seltzer. He simply eats them, the way that most people eat those slices of oranges that come with your fortune cookies at suburban Chinese restaurants. He eats the wedges that people put out on their bars for cocktails, the slices that come on top of a pile of Pad Thai, those on the side of a sizzling fajita platter and the other half I haven’t used in a recipe, lying unloved on the cutting board.

one inch limes

The first time I saw him do it, I was taken aback. “Did you just eat a lime?” Perhaps it was because it was from my gin and tonic, it was an early-on date and he’d obtained it in a “Are you using that?” kind of way. But I loved that he didn’t think it was the least bit odd. I love that now we’ll be at a party or bar and one of our friends will notice his lime-eating ways for the first time and be shocked.

I seriously think they dipped his baby bottle in vinegar. It’s the only logical explanation.

golf ball limes

The limes at the small grocery store we frequent more often than it deserves our hard-won dollars are now 60 cents apiece. (That thud you hear is my mother fainting. I mean, sure, they’re in the Canadian Rockies but I suspect that she knows that somewhere, one of her daughters is paying too much for food.) Oh, and they’re lousy. I mean, when you pay 60 cents for a lime, you hope to get at a bare minimum the two tablespoons of lime juice you’ll need for a recipe, but no such luck.

green whisk keeping with the lime theme

I was about to put a kibbosh on buying limes (not that I would. Or could. If you could make someone happy at 60 cent intervals, how could you not?) when I did what I should have done eons ago, and wandered into the Manhattan Fruit Exchange and what do you know, they had these bags of 18 well, somewhat busted but totally good-hearted tiny key limes for $1.99. I thought I’d won the lottery, especially when I squeezed more than a tablespoon and a half of juice from one, one-inch lime.

Thud. The lime obviously doesn’t fall far from the tree.

this helps get it roundsliced meltawaysready to bakeolive tongs, represent

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that you can expect a couple lime-based recipes this week while I work through them, but just one for now. I was horrified to learn that Alex had never had a meltaway cookie growing up. They’re tart and sharp in the middle, but rolled in powdered sugar, keeping the bite in check and giving them their melty qualities. They sounded like they’d be right up his alley, and this Martha Stewart recipe is so simple, it was worth turning the oven on for this weekend. You’ll never even consider those packaged ones again.

lime meltawayslime meltaways

Limes, previously: Key Lime Tartlets and Key Lime Cheesecake with Mango Ribbons
One year ago: Quick Zucchini Saute

Key Lime Meltaways
Adapted from Martha Stewart

You can make these with regular limes as well, but if you run into some key limes, they’re worth it. Trust me and my resident lime addict.

You could also keep the logs frozen for up to two months, and use them as the meltaway craving hits.

Yield: 5 dozen

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, 170 grams or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, divided
Grated zest of 4 tiny or 2 large key limes
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (235 grams) all-purpose flour (a.k.a. 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.

Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, form dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, just three or four minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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310 comments on key lime meltaways

  1. Kelle

    I have never had (or heard of) a meltaway either. These will be my first. I was just at the Mexican market last night and there were bins of cute little key limes. Thanks! I can’t wait to make them.

  2. Score! Does Alex eat the skins, too? (That would be weird.) But the pulp of a good lime is so tasty.

    A California friend has lime and lemon trees, and I could hate him for it, but he brings me bags full every once in a while. Whatever I don’t use right away, I squeeze into ice cube trays and freeze for later. You could do that with a few bags of cheap limes.

    Those cookies would be a nice bit of sunshine in the middle of winter.

  3. I love this recipe. I made two batches of these cookies at Christmastime just because I love limes so much and thought something a little different might be welcome in the cookie tins I was delivering to family and friends (plus the powdered sugar looks kind of like snow). You think 60 cents is bad for limes…try buying them in December! Oy.

  4. Jess

    I have an irish friend who recently shared a great trick to juicing a lemon or lime – microwave it for about 10 seconds, and once the skin is punctured, it’s juice city! You just have to be careful of how you break the skin, as the liquid definitely tends to come flying out in all directions. And the amount of juice that comes out seems to double (if not triple?) the amount you would be able to squeeze out under normal conditions!!

  5. zh

    I have eaten lemons & limes (just the pulp though, not the skins!) since I was a kid. I think I’ve always had a craving for sour stuff, the sourer the better. But if you roll it in powdered sugar, I’m there too. Alex is a lucky guy to have a meltaway expert in the house!

    1. Susan Gavazzi

      I would like to make these ahead. I suspect I freeze the shaped dough. Do I slice and bake frozen? Thaw? It looks like a delicate cookie. I’m making them for a special occasion (sis loves key lime everything and she’s turning 60) and will have to travel with them. TIA if you have any tips, thanks. Susie

  6. Cristina

    Crazily enough not only do I also eat limes, straight up (with salt), but I made these very same lime meltaways Saturday night. They were a huge hit on a lazy Sunday afternoon in East End Park. I’m a lurker, but had to come out of hiding for my love of all things lime! I can’t to see what other lime-related goodies you have in store this week.

  7. deb

    I should update my comment about the atrociously-priced limes to say that it’s not really “cheaper” food that I am after. I get that we expect to pay too little for food in this country, and that farmers and food quality get the short end of this stick. (Um, see this for a more articulate explanation.) I wouldn’t shudder at paying .60 for a delicious lime. What irks me is paying .60 for garbage lime, for something a store shouldn’t be selling in the first place. /end rant

  8. Jessica

    I love that you used the word busted — even if you just meant beat up, I’m going to imagine that you meant it as slang for ugly. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that. I think I’ll use it in a sentece today. And also buy some limes.

  9. Lisa D.

    We don’t have limes in the house too often, but my children love to eat lemon wedges. I’m getting some limes this week so I can try these meltaways. They look delicious!

  10. Not so weird. My Mom and I have always done it, lime and lemon wedges with a touch of salt. They are wonderfull, you just can’t have more that 2 lemons or limes at a time or your mouth pays for it.

  11. dina

    Thanks for the meltaway recipe. Big lime fans out here in California.
    I also want to say thanks for the reference to the Omnivore’s Dilemma. I was hoping that was where the link would take me!! It is a worthwhile undertaking to consider where our food comes from!

  12. Cindy

    I’ve stopped lurking to say I’ve had this recipe earmarked for some time; you have motivated me to try it! This is a bit off-topic, though cookie related: I am so hoping you’ll make the David Leite/NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, and share your experiences. (An arm injury has sidelined me from baking these past few weeks.) If you haven’t tried them yet, I think Alex will love Cook’s Illustrated’s Key Lime Bars–they are divine.

  13. Jane

    My dad eats the skin and everything inside of the lime, much like how you’d eat an apple. He does the same thing with lemons! Maybe I will make this recipe for him. Thanks for sharing!

  14. eg

    I’ve been using the instructions at TooManyChefs (sort of) to juice my limes as I’ve been making Blackberry Limeade this summer. I can usually get between 3/4 to 1 cup of juice out of 5 limes. I think I’m going to have to buy a squeezer though. Last time I scraped my cuticle in my enthusiasm and, boy, did it hurt….

    Are these yummy looking cookies anything like a Lime version of a Lemon Cooler? I loved those cookies so much.

  15. My biggest problem regarding these kind of cookies is that I cant stop eating them!
    Your cookies looks great, the kind of cookies that looks like they were made at home, witha lot of love (im sorry, that came out a little kitschy :).

  16. Cassandra

    hm. I think if he was my significant other I’d call him “The Lime-n-ate-or” in a poorly executed Austrian accent. Those meltaways look delish!

  17. I’ve never heard of a meltaway cookie before, but I have to admit they sound delicious! I’m curious, what kind of texture do the finished cookies have? Are the soft and chewey, crunchy and buttery, or some other combination entirely?

  18. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a meltaway cookie before either. Sounds good though! My mom’s birthday is wednesday and she’s a big lime fan too, I might have to swap the Barefoot Contessa frozen key lime pie repeat from last year to these little darlings. It is a worknight after all…

    Meanwhile, just the thought of someone eating a lime made me pucker! I kind of want to try it, just to see if I can do it. ;)

  19. My husband LOVES these cookies! I saw them on Martha’s “Cookie of the Day” a while back and had to give them a try. The only problem I discovered is how easily you can eat a handful without giving it a second thought (maybe that isn’t actually a problem?…). I like using them as dessert after fajitas or anything else with somewhat spicy flavors.

  20. Yummy! I loved the boxed kind (Lemon Coolers?) when I was a kid.

    As a Key lime pie fan, I also recommend Manhattan Key Lime Juice if you can’t find real Key limes, or if you don’t have the patience to juice those little suckers. Deb, I don’t know how you got more than a tablespoon of juice out of each one!

  21. Heather

    My boyfriend eats limes too! And lemons….

    I have also made these cookies, much to the delight of my co-workers. They are definitely simple, and so yummy!

  22. Mia

    Those cookies look perfect for a summer afternoon refresher…I love the bite of lemon and lime in my baked goods! If you’re looking for a good way to use your extra key limes, you should try key lime panna cotta. I made some a few weeks ago, and they were a hit – kind of like key lime pie, but lighter and perfect for summer. I’m looking forward to reading more lime recipes!

  23. Meltaways? Haven’t heard of this kind of cookie – but I think there’s some version of a chocolate Mint Meltaway out there. Deb, these look amazing. My husband’s not much on sweets – well he says he’s not – but every once in a while, I’ll find the leavings of a late night snack or even some candy wrappers, always something nice and tart. I’ll have to try these for him.

  24. I think I recall Martha saying this was her all time favorite cookie. I made these guys a few months ago to go with a coconut jasmine ice cream and absolutley LOVED them.

    Alex must have been in heaven : )

  25. MMm – they look good – I’ll have to give ’em a go. Re the price- that doesn’t seem bad to me. I know that the dollar is having a bad time, but even if I convert it straight to Sterling, 60p doesn’t seem bad. What would you usually expect to pay?

  26. Kelly

    In lime season, i can usually, pretty easily, find them for 10 for $1. Though here in the middle of the country they haven’t been as tasty as they were in TX and CA.

  27. Susan

    Thanks for this. I’ve never had an official meltaway cookie..but the recipe base is exactly like “Snowballs” or those Russian..or Mexican..or Italian Wedding Cookies but without the nuts. I love the texture of the cookie really does melt in your mouth! Handy to have a “no egg” cookie recipe too, for those times when…

  28. I’m glad I’m not the only person shocked by but still buying expensive limes. These cookies remind me of your fantastic margarita cookies that I love. I shared them with coworkers and they were a huge hit.

  29. blkbelle

    Deb, I have a quick question about the pancake recp (M.S.) Are they supposed to be a gummy texture if not what did I do wrong and how do you make them denser or thicker? (l love the flavor of them just not the consistency) Sorry if question stupid

  30. JoJo

    OMG! When I opened you page and saw these I nearly had a heart attack! But for good reasons I assure you. I got married in Key West this past April and my mom and I made about 600 of these cookies to give away as favors for the wedding. People LOOOOOVED them. We actually made, rolled and froze the dough in January and when I arrived in Florida for our wedding we baked them off and packaged them up in really adorable Chinese take-out containers. Thanks for posting these, they are truly great cookies.

  31. Kaitlin

    I made this recipe when I first got Martha’s Cookies book. They are delicious. My next thought is to make some with oranges, or lemons, or a combination of all citrus fruits…hmmm

  32. My daughter loves limes, will eat one without puckering her face at all! Must have not devoled those glands yet because my mouth is starting to fish up right now at the thought of it! Anyway, a must to try, always looking for a new cookie and what a great one to try on my knitting group night! As we already talk about your blog every week! “Did you see that?” or “Di you try the recipe on SK?” Yup, got the knitters on ya!

  33. My mouth is so watering … no … not kidding – TOTALLY watering, from the very thought of Alex eating limes till the very end with the stunning picture of a tiny-limely confection – YUM!

    I heart LIMES, too Alex.

  34. Kinsey

    Made these last week with key lime juice and they turned out great! May I just say that a ripe key lime is actually yellow, almost the size of golf ball, with a thin skin that can be squeezed easily between the fingers for lots of juice. Those hard green things sold in the grocery are not ripe and hardly worth the effort. Try a good quality bottled key lime juice as a better alternative.

  35. Liz

    If you’re looking for another way to use up those limes in cookies, check out Martha Stewart’s recipe for lime cornmeal cookies. They’re reminiscent of the ones at Amy’s Bread on 9th Ave. If you do make them, be sure to VERY finely mince the lime zest in the glaze or just omit altogether. The last time I made them, the lime zest ended up resembling scallions. They tasted delicious but looked a bit odd.

  36. SusanPrincess

    You can freeze those limes (and lemons) without juicing first, you know. Just freeze whole, thaw as needed, and they juice even more easily than fresh. Zest while still frozen. I’m getting 2 lb bags now of the Mexican Key limes at the 99 Cents Only store for, yes, 99 cents! Most are still green, but ripen to a lovely yellow-green pretty quickly at room temp. They do dry out if not kept covered. BEWARE, you lime eaters: Too much of that will erode tooth enamel. Ouch! Now I’m off to try the garlic press to juice some for my water.

  37. I used to eat lemons like Alex does. It got so bad that my dentist banned me for doing so, as it was eating the enamel from my teeth. I do sneak in a lemon from time to time. Delicious

  38. mixette

    My birthday was last week and I usually have key lime pie, but was kind of , “eh” about that this year. I am totally making these with the bottled juice (thx Kinsey) and saving the regular limes I just bought to make Caipirinas.

  39. Fader

    Oh god those sounds amazing. I also eat limes like Alex. And drink concentrated lime and lemon juices. And add at least twice as much lime juice to my key lime pies so that they’re rendered inedible to the rest of the family. But they’re absolutely heavenly to me!

  40. dude. limes go up to about $1 each sometimes here, thankfully I go out to the country every so often and raid friends tree, last time I came back with 60 limes, when they are starting to turn, juice them and freeze in ice trays, you have perfect fresh portions of lime juice ready all year round

  41. Gigi

    Oh I totally understand the lime price thing! I was having a margarita night and was absolutely shocked to see local limes at $9 for 3. Lemons on the other hand are 20 cents.

    I don’t get it.

  42. My mouth is watering already. I’m a dental assistant and just wanted you to know that it’s not really a good for your tooth enamel too suck and eat lemon and limes. Just be sure to rinse with ACT or Listerine Tooth Defense to help restore your enamel. :)

  43. You have done it again! Taken my breath away with your pictures and description of these little beauties! I have never made anything like these and they would be perfect for summer!! I love new cookie recipes!

  44. Susan

    I’m so surprised to hear that lemons are cheap in NY. I’m in CA and the darn things are 2 for $1.50 here. Limes are cheap and lemons are $$$’s too odd. Almost everyone in our neighborhood has either a lemon or orange tree in their yard (Everyone except me, that is!) and the lemon trees are loaded with fruit, so, it’s not like there was a bad crop or anything. Hrumft!

  45. haha- this post made me chuckle because i love limes, too. my husband suggests on a fairly regular basis that i get a lime tattoo.

    those look like great little treats!

  46. Ohiogirl


    I read your recipe and instantly put limes on my shopping list. And yes, like SusanPrincess, I am lucky enough to get them two pounds for 99¢ at our uber exclusive store.

    So I got them, and the powdered sugar – and made mango salsa instead. (No powdered sugar.) It was too hot and muggy today to bake!

    Do you have a lime/citrus squeezer? I know you love Martha, but don’t pay $13.00 for hers. Go to a mexican market and pick up a cast aluminum one (with or without enamal on top) for under $3. Fab to have in the house and fresh lime juice for mojitos? Killer.

  47. Can I make a suggestion? I’ve recently read a report that makes me cringe when I hear that people actually eat the lemons and limes intended for garnish at bars, etc… If I were you, and brave, next time Alex reaches for a lime in a bar to eat, I’d slap his hand! (Then of course go buy one from the store for him!)

  48. Ahhh damnit- too bad I can’t find any key limes around this place- my regular old (4/$1 here…) limes will have to do- I’d pay $1 a lime if it was a key lime! Apparently eating limes by the wedge is not a strange thing? my 1 1/2 yr old daughter took the already juiced lime leftover from homeade guac this weekend and sucked on it, eating the pulp bits for a 1/2 hr! AND as for the rest of that bag of limes- I have this insanely yummy coconut lime CUPCAKE recipe that is INCREDIBLE. email me if you want it. YUM YUM, thanks for sharing these!

  49. I am so spoiled to have Trader Joes, where I can count on limes and key limes at great prices… and in pretty good shape.

    I think I did that lime ‘wince’ while reading about straight lime-eating.

    AND it reminds me when I was at another grocer the other day and they were asking almost a dollar per lime and they looked AWFUL. I had this great big astonished look, like the grocer had offended me personally. Love those before-you-realize facial expressions, that occur before you can stop them and until you can change them.

    I look forward to your next limey posts. Cheers!

  50. oh those look great, I will give them a try

    but I have a question, what is the difference between key limes and “normal” limes, I live in germany and I guess I can only get the “normal” ones, but would like to know the difference

  51. It’s funny because even though I never heard of meltaways, I know I have had them and exactly what they are like. FOr some reason, I got rather overexcited about those little tweezer-form thingies you have in one photo!

  52. Limes make the world go ’round.

    I came across _Tigers and Strawberries_ looking for a key lime pie recipe. Been reading it religiously ever since. Barbara linked to Alosha, so I’ve been reading that too. Alosha linked to you, and now you’re on the list as well :-)

    And the first thing I planted at our new house was…a lime tree :-)

  53. deb

    Ohiogirl — I just use a reamer for squeezing citrus, though I do have a few gadgets including this one and the KitchenAid juicer. However, these limes were so tiny and juicy, I could squeeze them just with the tips of my fingers!

    Diana — Key limes are what most of the world eats. They’re juicier, have better flavor but also seeds. The limes that are readily available in most U.S. supermarkets (Persian or Tahitian limes) are a hybrid developed in the early 20th century which are larger and seedless with a thicker skin that is better resistant to disease and bugs. (And yes, I Googled this.) They’re also picked prematurely. Limes are yellow when they’re fully ripe, and green only beforehand.

    Helen — We got those olive tongs at Crate and Barrel, along with two others, each of which made Alex’s eye roll. What? I hate getting messy fingers but I love olives.

  54. Julia S

    12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks of butter: What is the equivalent if you’re cooking this in the UK? Help, I’m one expat who is miserable at converting!

  55. prklypr

    You and Martha are thinking alike this week (not sure if you will take that as a compliment or not) – yesterday her cookie of the day was key lime bars :)

  56. I’m absolutely the same way with limes (and lemons!). I will bite down on them and suck the life out of ’em. These little cookies look like the perfect fix. I think I’m going to have to add these to the list for my upcoming birthday extravaganza!

  57. deb

    Julie — 1 1/2 sticks is six ounces but I can’t remember how many grams. Does that help? (I admit I’m being lazy. If you need, I can weigh a stick of butter and tell you for sure.)

    Prklpyr — I do love the Martha, and hadn’t even realized at the time but this is the second Martha recipe in a week! (The pancakes, minus the blueberries, are hers.) I hadn’t meant to go overboard. She’s just really good at the kind of simple, American foods I crave toward the end of the summer.

    Thanks Alice — I’m trying out RAW right now, but on these pics at least, I didn’t see a huge difference.

    Audrey — These are all-lime and a bit more tart, which is compensated with sugar. They’re a tad softer than the margarita cookies, too, because they don’t have an egg in them. But aside from that, and of course the orange zest and splash of tequila in the margarita cookies, they do have quite a few similarities. I’d say it’s just up to what flavors you’re craving more.

  58. I just found the best looking bunches of key limes and blueberries at the grocery store today – so I’m off to make these cookies and the blueberry bars you posted the other day. My hubby got me hooked on your blog…I think just so I’d make more treats for him ;) Thanks!

  59. Susan in CA

    These cookies are in the oven right now! I’ll let you know how they turn out. I’m in California and I got my key limes cheap at the local Mexican market. Zesting & juicing them was time consuming for me. I’m taking them to a “tea” this afternoon with some friends.

  60. Denise

    You actually made my face pucker and my teeth ache when mentioning Alex eating limes… The acid is so bad for the enamel on your teeth not too mention the sour/tart taste… Love the look of the cookies though!

  61. Susan in CA

    Wow, they are good! Definitely melt in your mouth. I’m covered with powdered sugar! They will go perfectly with tea. I forgot to time the second sheet so I better go check on them! Thanks for the inspiration!

  62. limeish

    next time you are in a lime growing region in winter (i’m in so cal) you should stop at a farmers market and get limes that are lime green/yellow or some mix according to variety, in other words, ripe limes. key limes are completely yellow when they are ripe. they sell the same darkish green limes at the supermarket here that they do in non lime growing states but it’s like eating a green lemon, you don’t quite get the taste.

  63. I absolutely love limes but I suppose not enough to eat one by itself! these cookies look so nice and refreshing and you know, I’ve never had meltaways either!

  64. Deb, I’ve never had meltaways, either. Yours look so good. I can’t wait to try them. If you have time, can you answer a quick question, how do you do the 2×2 photo square of small pics? I love those! thanks

  65. deb

    Jill — Photos will naturally line up next to each other as long as your entry width permits it, as long as you don’t put a paragraph break between them. I think that’s what you were asking, right?

  66. Terrie

    Do I dare to describe your post as “sub-LIME”? (I know, I know, a pun is supposed to be the lowest form of humor, but you really handed that one to me!!)

    I’ve been reading your blog for several months now. It’s the first blog I ever stumbled upon. Just my luck to start out with one of such obviously high quality of humor and writing, not to mention recipes, that every subsequent food blog seems sub-par. (I seem to have ‘sub—words on the brain, sorry)

    Thanks, too, for the lovely photography! I have tried out more recipes than I can count, but the latest was the potato-yellow squash torte-a big winner at my house!

  67. I’m a huuuuuge fan of limes, so I’ll be making these ASAP! I’ve also never had a meltaway, so I’m extra psyched to find out what I’ve been missing.

  68. PatW

    It brings to mind a scene in the book and the movie Das Boot where the sub’s officers are sitting around the mess table doing lemons. Each man has his own way of getting it down. One puts sugar lumps in the cells and sucks the juice through them. The youngest delights in getting a rise out of the Old Man by mixing lemon juice sugar and condensed milk, drinking the curdled result, and asking if the rest are jealous. The one fellow who just eats it whole is considered…. weird!

    I’m dying to try the cookies!

  69. you would not believe it- I complained yesterday about never being able to find key limes- wouldn’t you know it, the local mexican market ad came today- front page centered “KEY LIMES 3 LBS/$1” WHAT????!!! Now stupid me picked al the green ones and told my little girl to put the nasty yellow ones back! DUH… next time I’ll know!

  70. Laura

    Deb, I just discovered your blog yesterday and have already spent a good couple of hours reading through the archives. Everything looks and sounds absolutely amazing…I only wish my charming Hollywood kitchen had more than four feet of counter space to work with because I am absolutely inspired to cook by you!

  71. I have loved this recipe since it was published in the magazine. I usually double the lime zest, we are that crazy about limes and I like the cookie super sour.

    I have found good deals on limes/key limes at Trader Joe’s and , surprisingly, the 99 cent store.

  72. Christy

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I made the Lime Meltaways and the Nappa Cabbage Salad last night. My hubby is definitely in love with the cookies. He said they tasted just like a key lime pie. The reason that is so funny is because when we were dating, I made him a key lime pie with store-bought lime juice. (Okay, so I didn’t know any better at the time — I’ve since learned.) The expression on his face when he bit into that first key lime pie was impossible to explain with mere words. His face contorted into an expression of pure horror. Thankfully, the look on his face after tasting the lime cookies was pure bliss. We love the recipe!

  73. These were awesome! I love lime in desserts and the tarter the better so I added an extra TBLS of key lime juice to the dough and also brushed the tops of the cookies with juice before baking them.

    Thanks so much for the idea. It’s the perfect summer cookie!

  74. Mmmm YUM. I eat limes too, just like Alex. But my mom always used to yell at me, saying the acid ruins tooth enamel. So I’m all paranoid now. But I still do it. Maybe it I make these cookies all be less inclined to actually eat plain old limes. Worth a try, right??

  75. I love citrus of all kinds, but especially limes. These look fantastic and are headed straight to the list of this week’s “must tries.” Thanks so much for sharing!

  76. I swear that my years of eating lemons and limes (with a healthy dose of salt) as a kid are what has made my teeth so darn sensitive and the enamel thin. I love them!! Oh and my husband eats the rind and all. I don’t love them THAT much.

  77. sarah

    How do you think these would hold up to shipping? I’m looking for a way to thank some friends who hosted me overseas – I am planning on sending them a package of odds and ends, and I want to include something sweet and home-baked. Thanks!

  78. I literally “Stumbled” upon your website, and just love what I’ve seen so far. I eat limes, too! With salt. YUM! And these lime melty things just look wonderful.

    I’ll be back for more!

  79. These look divine! I will definitely try them with these small citrus fruits I found at the supermarket. I have no idea what they are but am intrigued. I live in Japan and there are a lot of fruits I have never seen before and a lot of citrus fruits with no English name.

  80. I just found your blog by way of Things We Make blog at Hallmark magazine.
    Your photos are absolutely beautiful, and your recipes look positively mouth-watering. I cannot wait to try these meltaways!

  81. Yael

    I love this blog, and I absolutely adore this recipe. The description of meltaways reminds me of Ghorayeba cookies (I think those are a lot like sable… very soft, crumbling, meltying, nutty-buttery cookies), except without nuts, and with lime. Okay, so not exactly the same, but I’m sure they’re yummy. :)
    We actually have a lime tree in our garden, and will be having limes shortly – I will try to remember this recipe, unless my parents want to save them all for caipirinha.

    Speaking of our garden… not trying to rub it in, or anything, but we also have a whole lot of figs right now. More than we know what to do with. You don’t happen to have any good fig recipes lying around, do you?

  82. oh oh! i eat lemons! alright, maybe not eat, but i suck on lemon wedges that are provided along with fish and chips, coke, calamari, etc. i shock my friends too but i love sourish foods! looks like i’m not alone! =D

  83. Susan in CA

    To Sarah,

    I wouldn’t recommend these to send overseas. I had a couple break just trying to sugar them at the end. They are VERY fragile. For mailing, go with a gingersnap type cookie. Nice of you to send overseas!

  84. Judy Johnson

    I just discovered your blog this week and I am “smitten”! Your recipes are wonderful and your photography is fantastic! I’ve already printed out about two dozen pages of recipes to try. Are your photographs available anywhere? I found one from your Nov 8, 2006 blog (the autumn leaves) that I have to have!!!

  85. Christina

    I made these last night and they are amazing! Wonderful recipe to share and the photos made it impossible to resist making them.

    This is the 4th recipe you’ve shared that I’ve made since discovering your site two weeks ago. So pleased I found this great site. :o)

  86. JR

    Delicious recipe! One little trick I discovered for chilling the cookie dough in it’s paper tube… use one of those plastic cutting mats, and after rolling the dough in the parchment paper, place it in the middle of the plastic mat, and roll the mat around it and secure with rubber bands. I do this for freezer cookie tubes too.

  87. I was looking for something extra to do for my anniversary on Tuesday, but couldn’t find limes for a decent price, let alone key limes. By complete serendipity, I found 1lb bags of 18 tiny key limes for $2.99 today, a steal by our standards. The Lady won’t know what hit her. Thank you very much, Deb.

  88. Thank you Deb. I made these yesterday for my mom and Granddad’s bday party (to go with our Martha Stewart chocolate cake). They were gone in a flash! I don’t even think we ended up with a picture of them for the flickr group :/ I’ll just have to make them again!

  89. $3.89 for a lb of key limes at Fairway, fyi. Going to give this a shot today.

    On a sidenote, I’ve decided that any baked goods I don’t want me+the bf to finish (like when I practice making cookies and there are suddenly 70 cookies in the house) will be delivered to the firehouse down the street.

  90. Brenda

    I tried these today. I dont know what I did wrong. The flavor, was nice if I could pick them up. They turned out very crumbly. Maybe Ill give them another try at another time.

  91. amy

    oh ya. i eat limes and lemon wedges ‘raw’ too. love them! actually i love anything sour and no, i am not pregnant. ha. will try out your scrumptious looking lime meltaways.

  92. LC

    I’ve discovered an easy no mess way to juice key limes. You just cut them in half and then put a half pulp side towards the holes in your garlic press and press over a bowl or measuring cup. Voila. Pulpless, seedless key lime juice. Zest them first if you need/want the zest.

  93. deb

    Hi AMR — I’d be wary of adding liquid to a shortbread-style cookie recipe like this. You wouldn’t want the cookies to spread, so dry additions are best, unless you are swapping out the vanilla or something. Lemon zest–or even orange–would be wonderful in these cookies.

  94. Stephenie

    I just made a batch of the meltaways, subsituting lemon for lime, and they are absolutely delicious and incredibly fast and easy to make. Thank you for sharing!

  95. Erica

    Long-time reader, first-time poster –

    I made these meltaways yesterday and they were a hit! My boyfriend ate about five of them off the cooling rack. Thanks for posting this lovely little recipe!

    As a previous poster warned, it’s easy to eat a handful. :D

  96. I just moved to South Florida from New Hampshire and am delighted to find a lime tree in my backyard (along with coconut,papaya and mango trees!) These cookies are on my “to bake” list. Thanks for sharing. ~ Diana, Top Dog at Pug At The Beach

  97. kiwae

    I made the dough about two weeks ago, froze 3/4 of it, and I don’t know what happened but maybe I put too much juice or not enough flour(?) Because after I chilled them, it had that dough consistency with lime juice lubricating the whole thing and so after baking it was more crispy

    Next time, I’ll pay attention to the measurements more.

  98. LC

    I made these about a week or two after you posted this recipe and all I can say is OMG!!!! The flavor. The texture. Did I say OMG!!!? I adore the sweetness of the powdered sugar mixed with the tartness of the key limes.These are incredibly addictive and also disguistingly easy to make. I did end up chilling the dough for awhile before rolling it in to logs and chilling it again because it was just too soft to work with. The only reason I haven’t made these again is because I haven’t had any limes in the house.

  99. I grew up in Naples, FL and always had a key lime tree in the backyard. Now I just use the bottled kind since I live in Atlanta. But I use key lime juice in place of lemon juice every time I use a recipe. Instead of Lemon Bars, mine are always Key Lime Bars. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I saw it on Martha too. When I was growing up I’d always steal the lemons from the trees and eat them whole (not the peel). Then I’d want something sweet, so I’d get a box of Jello and eat that straight! Yum! Your site is great. Thank you!!! I made some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins this morning! It’s almost Autumn!

  100. SarahCB

    Wow!!!! Amazing. I have never had a “meltaway” cookie before and I was blown away. I love the little hints of lime and salt. So well balanced. And very easy. Thank you for my new favorite cookie (of the week).

  101. Laura

    I made these this weekend and they turned out FABULOUS!! I am going to make more soon to freeze for the holidays too. They are so incredibly fresh and “light”. I served mine with a little vanilla bean ice cream and it was a perfect simple dessert for brunch.
    (BTW I made them because I saw limes for 15 cents and therefore was compelled to buy 10 of them the other day — can’t turn down a lime bargain.)
    I love your site — you have given me recent inspiration to cook again (and therefore my partner loves your site vicariously too!)

  102. Ooh I’m so excited to make these this week. I too love limes, and I actually did drink vinegar as a child. I saw John Wayne or someone doing shots in a western movie and asked my mom what it tastes like. She said vinegar, so I poured myself little Dixie cups of vinegar to pretend I was a cowboy!

  103. I thought these were pretty good. But, mine weren’t nearly limey enough. I used the zest of two Persian (aka regular) limes. I would probably increase that by at least 50% next time.

    Oops, I also only got about 3 dozen from the recipe. I had a feeling I was cutting them too thick.

  104. Erica

    I just made these for the second time, and they were just as wonderful as ever. My classmates (for whom they were made) liked them, but weren’t crazy about them, which surprised me. I say that because I like them so much that I eat the dough scraps from the ends of the dough logs, and the ones that break or overbake, and the aesthetically challenged ones, and…

    Well, anyway, my boyfriend and I are obsessed with them.

    I do find that it’s easier to simply roll the dough logs by hand, and then stick them in a Ziploc bag. For some reason, parchment paper and I don’t get along.

    Thanks for posting this great recipe!

  105. Jennifer

    We picked some key limes from my grandfather’s tree when we were visiting in Nov. (they’re in Fla.), and I had to find a way to use them before they went bad. I’m so happy to have found this recipe and I’m making these now as I type. The limes that we have are nice and small, but there’s this permanent, thin layer of brown that will not come off. It sounds gross, but I think it’s just the lime, not dirt (grandpa doesn’t use pesticides). Anyway, this kind of concerned me when I was zesting them, but they smell great so I don’t care anymore. Thanks for a great cookie!

  106. Michael

    Limes were eaten by British sailors in the olden days to ward off the disease “scurvy” which was caused by vitamin C deficiency. Hence the derogatory appellation “LIMEYS” for the Brits. I imagine the scene in Das Boot was meant to be fully ripened limes and not lemons.

  107. Julie

    I made these last night for a weekend with my sisters – they are wonderful. I just used regular limes this time as the key limes were outrageous and i’m not the best with my zester yet and those small limes were a bit intimidating. I had visions of zesting my fingers. I love your site.

  108. Brooke

    made these tonight- o-mazing. my kitchen aid donated to me by my parents for college baking days has broken though and i was so sure to get ‘fluffy’ with my arm and a whisk it was insane. there was never much of a fluffy, but more creamy then a regular creamed sugar and butter batch o-cookies. ANYWAYS. they turned out great. tomorrow is a send-off for our resident artist at school and all of my prof’s with great sense of taste will be there to tell me if they like ’em. Looking forward to it! thanks sooo much!!

  109. Kristen

    Deb- I have to make some favors for a fundraiser, and I was thinking lil’ bags of cookies. Do you think key lime meltaways, world peace cookies, and the crispy salted oatmeal will be enough variety for a 3-cookie bag? Or would any other combo work?

    PS: I made your black-bottom cupcakes last weekend for my coworker and her daughter. Today, she asked if I was up for making her daughter’s wedding cake…. having read your wedding cake success, I know enough to say “Nope. I don’t have the skills for that feat.” But being asked was compliment enough- Thank you thank you! (PS: I added some instant espresso to the cupcake batter, which gave the treats a bit of “grown-up” flavor)

  110. So your little (cute!) tongs are the trick! I made these the other day and tried to be delicate with my (bulky) fingers but still left some melted confectioner’s sugar marks (though it certainly didn’t ruin the taste of the cookie – they are fabulous!).

  111. Cheryl

    Hi, Deb! I’m new to your site but love it so far. Thank you for this wonderful service you provide to lazy cooks like me! And weirdly, I get almost as much pleasure from reading about recipes and food as from eating them, so yourcomments are especially satisfying, haha! Just want to ask if you ever asked the commenter here–Sarah, August 5, 2008–for her recipe for Coconut-Lime Cupcakes. Hope you do. I’d LOVE to have it, :-). Thanks again so much!

  112. Claire

    Deb…..Wow what an awesome cookie! I’ve made these delicious creations numerous times to rave reviews! I’ve searched for a recipe to replace the store bought lemon coolers (consumed boxes during my four pregnancies) and these are 100 times better! Although I am not pregnant now,….. these fill the craving bill!! My mouth is watering as i recall how YUMMY they are! Baker beware…hide some for yourself as they go quickly! These and your oatmeal white chocolate chip cookie are my current favorites!!!

  113. Ashley

    This is one of my family’s favorites. I made the Martha Stewart recipe one year to give as Xmas gifts and ever since, it’s always a top request.

  114. Kelly

    Hey Deb- just made the recipe. Sadly, half of my cookies came out burnt (and at 12 minutes!). I think my oven is running too hot! The other remaining half is actually quite delicious- I am very happy they came out unburned! But great recipe, they are buttery, soft, and quite good. I added a little bit of extra zest for a little more lime flavor. Next time I’m going to turn the heat down, and check up on them every couple of minutes! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  115. LauraZero

    I get all my produce from a little market and they didn’t have key limes, but they had… regular? limes 20 for $1! Of course I bought 20. I made these the other day and they were GREAT! I think they could have had a bit more lime kick to them. Maybe I will add a bit more zest next time, but they were delish. The roommates gobbled them up!

  116. Kate

    I’ve been eying up this recipe for a week now. I took a vacation with my dad to Key West when I was 13 and found similar cookie there. They called them ‘key lime koolers”, and I ate so many I got a stomach ache….these were just as delicious and dreamy…I made them tonight finally, alas no key limes at the market, but the limes I did get were quite juicy. Maybe I would add a touch more zest cause I’m a bit of lemon and lime freak myself. I confess I drank the leftover lime juice straight…yum

  117. JP

    These cookies look great! What is the difference between this recipe and the “slice-and-bake cookie” (from Dec 21, 2007 post) in terms of the texture of the final products? I can see that the other recipe has egg yolk and this one doesn’t. Just debating which ones to make. Thanks!

    1. deb

      JP — The egg yolk makes it the tiniest bit sturdier. They’re both still really delicate-tasting, but the “meltaway” effect comes from an egg-free dough.

  118. Sheila

    Just found you tonight; I have a son who’s crazy for key lime anything and I was actually looking for a key lime “bark” recipe. Anybody know one? I’m definitely sneaking and making these for him, though. Each time I manage to get an “aaaahhhhh” out of him it’s worth tracking things down.
    We were recently living in Kuwait and I was trying to find things the family would like THAT I could convert (and that I could find the products for); it was a nightmare. Glad to be back in America and understand the frustrations for the UK lady.

  119. Leigh

    I’ve already finished my holiday baking. If I never see another frosted sugar cookie, thumbprint cookie, peanut butter ball or orange ball, that would be OK with me. And yet, I’m seriously considering getting up right this instant to make some of these!

  120. Shelley

    I try to read through the comments for answers to my questions, but apparently no one else had a problem with this dough never coming together. The only liquid is the lime juice, and I admit that I didn’t measure it out, just used the same limes that I zested and squeezed their juices. I assume that’s my problem, and will certainly try again. But just to be sure, is this supposed to be a drier dough? I don’t think I’ve ever made any shortbread, so I can’t be sure.

  121. Ilysse

    Hi Deb – I love your website!! I’m going to make these melt aways for my grandmother who absolutely loves key lime pie. Do you think I can make the dough and keep in the fridge for 3 days and then make the cookies or should I freeze it immediately? I’ve never baked from frozen dough before – do I need to let the dough thaw completely before baking or just the cooking time? Thanks for your help – I’m a novice baker but definitely improving with help from SK!

    1. deb

      Ilysse — Nope, you can bake frozen dough. Freezing it will keep it the freshest, too. It should only take an extra minute or two, tops, in the oven.

  122. Paula

    WOW, these are so good. I used regular limes and I thought I could use a bit more zest next time but otherwise, these are deliciously decadent.

  123. Cathy

    I tried these this weekend, and they are awesome! I make little sandwiches from them with key lime curd as the filling and limed myself into a frenzy – just delicious.

  124. Gretchen

    I’ve never had a melt-a-way either! I’ll have to put them on my list to bake, yum! I’ve been eating lemons the same way Alex eats limes since I was really little, like under 2 little. Most people give me the same look! Except the few people I find that eat lemons too, and then there’s a fight!

  125. KayLee

    Can these cookies be baked in round balls (like Mexican Wedding Cakes), or do they have to be rolled & sliced? If you can make them round, would you adjust the baking time? Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

  126. Anne-Renée

    I made these last night (@Allison – with my hand mixer) and they are gorgeous! Brought one half as a present to our hostess and she served them with our coffee.
    My partner, who isn’t a fan of cookies, actually enjoyed them and had two :-D
    They turned out exactly like the originals!
    ht tp://

  127. Serena

    OMG – best cookies ever!! And since there’s no chocolate but fruit (lemonjuice), they also *feel* more healthy – lol.
    Definitely #1 on my cookie favorites. Thanks for the recipe!!

  128. Jackie

    Help I made these and just put them in the freezer and was going to bake the logs at a later date. I just realized I put all the sugar in them already…….Will they taste gross?

  129. Natalie

    Do you think this would work with lemon? I used to get lemon cookies with powdered sugar as a kid and these sound like a dead ringer for them…
    How much lemon zest would you use?

  130. Eileen

    I made these today & it was 2 firsts for me: I’ve never made a cookie this small before, nor have I made a lime cookie before. It’s a fun recipe, and the cookies are sweet, but the lime taste wasn’t really that strong. (The powdered sugar is dominant). I’m going to go searching through your other lime recipes & keep trying them until I find the one with the strongest lime taste. I’ve never sucked on a lime directly before (maybe I should try that as my 3rd first of the day). Maybe I have a little of your husband’s lime love after all.

  131. Amy

    I also had trouble with the dough coming together and noticed almost no lime flavor after baking. This was after adding extra lime juice to get the dough to come together. I was using regular limes, so only used the zest of 2. I put some citric acid in the powdered sugar for dipping, and that saved it.

  132. merav

    I made these cookies yesterday, and I don’t know what I did wrong but they were really fragile and crumbly. Handling them made them turn to dust. Any idea what causes this??

    I added extra lime zest because I happen to like things extra zesty– the flavor was AMAZING, but the texture came out totally weird.

  133. Heather

    I just made these cookies today and they are amazing with a wonderful melt in your mouth feel. I’ve never had meltaways and I’m glad I tried these first because they are so good even though I made the mistake of putting regular sugar inside the cookies. Very tasty, I’ll need to make them with powered sugar next time and see if they are even better.

  134. Sarah jane

    amazing! delicious. love the tip to freeze the dough. i skipped the step of putting the dough in the fridge and just did little balls of dough and then pressed it down with my finger. a fast + delicious cookie! thank you.

  135. Brittany

    Hi Deb, I made these once and they were great! I’d like to give them a stronger lime flavor though, so I thought about adding more lime juice. Will this change the consistency of the cookie too much, or is it okay? Should I add more zest instead?

  136. Corinne

    These were fantastic (: My boyfriend loved them! i had to put them away to stop him from sneaking a bunch before dinner haha

  137. Taylor

    If I don’t have cornstarch on hand, do you think a couple of extra tablespoons of flour would do? Or will that ruin the dough? Thanks.

  138. Jaclyn

    Just made these and they are fantastic! I have never had a meltaway before, so I was not sure was to expect, but they are for my husband, who likes citrus desserts that aren’t too sweet, so it sounded perfect. I think he’ll love them.

    Based on other people’s posts saying they would add more zest next time, I used the zest from 8 small key limes (about 1 tbsp) and the listed amount of juice (which required about 6 limes for me). I think they are perfect. Very limey!

    Just a note – I also *almost* made them with the full cup of powdered sugar like the poster above, but realized my mistake before adding anything else to the bowl. Maybe you could note in the ingredient list, like 1/3 cup of powdered sugar (+2/3 cup for dusting)? Or something like that… just a though. Thanks!

  139. Melissa

    What a fantastic recipe! I used mexican key lime zest & real key lime juice (from world market).

    Juiced & zested some clemintines to try again tomorrow.

  140. Crystal

    I have key lime extract, I wonder if a touch of that would make the flavor pop even more. Will have to try it out after the holidaze craze

  141. Dustin

    Stumbled here, great recipes throughout your site. Made these for my lime-loving mum for Christmas and they were a hit! Thanks! Can’t wait to try this recipe with other zests and juices, I’m thinking blood oranges would turn out beautiful.

  142. Susan in CA

    Hi Deb,
    Just made your lime meltaways for the second (or third) time. It was my daughter’s request for what cookies to mail to her at college. Also read the egg sandwich post while I ate my egg sandwich :-)

  143. Just measured everything out to make these cookies. 2tbs does not equal a quarter of a cup. Double checked. But, I love key limes and I am excited to try this recipe.

  144. deb

    Hi Martha — I’m sorry you had trouble with the recipe. I call for 1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour in the ingredients, which is the same as 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons. 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons; 1 cup = 16 tablespoons, etc. Hope that helps for next time.

  145. mom 2 3 boys

    I have a dumb question – do you change from the wisk attachment to the paddle attachment on your stand mixer when you add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/lime mixture? Or just mix on low with the wisk attachement?

  146. deb

    Actually, a great question, not a dumb one. I bet I did switch, or just used the paddle from the beginning. The whisk attachment is great for whipping cream and/or egg whites, but I don’t think it’s essential for beating butter until fluffy. Thanks for noting it; I will update the recipe now.

    1. MR in NJ

      (Only 6 years later:) Deb, did you update the recipe? It still says to use the whisk attachment to cream the butter and nothing is mentioned about the paddle. Thanks!

      1. MR in NJ

        A reply to my own reply: I submitted my comment at midnight, and it appeared immediately, but the site says it was posted at 1 AM. Has the site’s timer “sprung ahead” a little early?

        1. deb

          Apparently, I did not, but will now. I *do* think this site’s timer is off and am not positive I can change it, but will check! [Update, I think I fixed both.]

  147. Daniella

    Ahh! Making them right now, but I used lemons instead – I LOVE lemony tart treats! Everything you post looks so delicious, and since I found this website about 3 days ago I’ve visited too many times to count! Something that would be fun to look up are “Rosquillas de Alcalá”. I could only find them in Madrid when I went to Spain, but they are the most delicious little flaky, sweet treats. I would forever hail you if you were pull those things off! Love everything on here! Amazing job!

  148. Sweet goodness, I just made these today and oh my God. They smelled so good in the oven that I nearly had a tantrum in my kitchen over how unfair it was that it took me so long to make them.

    The only amendment I would make to the recipe would be to stress tossing the cookies VERY GENTLY. I got a little overenthusiastic on the first batch and they just about dissolved in the bag. The fiance and I will definitely be nibbling those crumbs while we watch our movie tonight, but heads up for anyone else making these.

  149. KQ

    …so I’m going to make these for a tea next month. I was thinking about also making a ginger variation – ginger juice and grated fresh ginger – think that might work?

  150. jennifer

    This one of my favorite Martha cookies and is always well-received in Christmas cookie giveaways. I bet Alex would also like Martha’s Lime-Glazed Cookies, truly for the lime or citrus lover!

  151. Susannah

    Cannot wait to try. I love the texture that cornmeal adds to a cookie. Any way to incorporate cornmeal in these delectables?

    1. deb

      You could try swapping a couple tablespoons for the same amount of flour for a subtle texture change. Any more and you might end up with structural issues (i.e. spreading or such).

  152. Joey

    Hi! Just finished making these cookies and they are delicious. A couple of issues though: I got nowhere near 5 dozen cookies out of this recipe and I cut them pretty thin/small….did anyone else have this problem? Also, someone also mentioned, but I would recommend coating in powdered sugar using a plate as they will be reduced to crumbs in the bag (like i tried). Thanks so much!

  153. Leyla

    Man I feel like a ding dong. I thought id be crafty and just cut a huge piece of parchment and fold it over……. then I realized after I had so much parchment paper in rolling that you said to roll 2 rolls which is why you called for 2 seperate parchment papers (I made one gigantic size lol) Oh well. I can still use the parchment for lining but …. *blushes* in future I will have to remember to read instructions carefully and not try and outsmart the system. hehe.

  154. symphonic chef

    I’ve made these many times now with normal limes. Everyone loves them. They’re the perfect party cookie because they’re small and easy to eat lots of!

  155. Inge

    Thx Deb. They came out great. I live in the tropics so this is likely the only snow I will have for Xmas, haha. But why are they called meltaways? They were nice & crispy crumbly. With meltaways I think of something gooey, like brownies.

  156. These are fantastic Christmas cookies, as the powdered sugar is, of course, very snow-like. Made these for the colleagues during the holidays, and they went bonkers. Made me very popular. :) Thanks Deb, for the great recipe.

  157. Emily

    This is my first post on your fantastic website. Deb, you’ve become part of my life in the kitchen and I tell everyone who enjoys food that I cook for them to check out your website. Thank you so much! Before 2012ish, I considered myself one of those “cooks who cannot bake” types, but you’ve really taught me a lot about folding, yeast, and the use of salted vs unsalted butter. I live in Brazil and a combination of climate and ingredient differences pose quite a bit of challenge to recreating baked treats. I made this recipe the first time and the cookies tasted delicious, but were crumbly beyond belief. The second time, I had no cornstarch, so I mixed one egg in with my double batch and hope it would work as binding agent/thickener enough. Guess what! The cookies turned out better than before! Sometimes it’s as mystifying when recipes turn out right as when they don’t. Thanks again for your awesome work here! Happy 5 de Mayo- hope you’re enjoying a lime treat yourself some time today!

  158. Sandy

    I just found this recipe while looking for recipes to use up a lime glut ( there’s a basket of about a hundred ripe limes looking at me while I type). They sound perfect to use up… well 2% of the problem. Can’t wait to try them!

  159. Maria

    Great recipe! I love all of your roll-and-cut cookie recipes, and this one is no exception! Light cookies and so easy to make, thank you! :)

  160. Karen Sullivan

    I make these every year (since 2009) for my friend’s birthday (tomorrow). They are so yummy! If you live anywhere near a Mexican market, key limes are about half the price of a major grocery. And I really think they make a difference. We just love these Deb, and they make my friend so happy every year!

  161. Call me crazy – because it was upwards of 90+ degrees here in Chicago today – but I have the cookie baking madness happening. In addition to pouring through my 100 plus baking (and cookie specific) books, I hit three libraries in search of yet MORE (new and different?) cookie recipes. Yes! I found some! Ha! A neighbor saw me walkng out of the library with the cookie volumes – and gave me an odd look – (it being so hot). I said I was thinking ahead to Christmas! Anyway, as good as the Brandy Soaked Much Better Than Fruitcake Bars (from another volume) seem, the Key Lme Meltaways are just perfect for a summer day. I believe Martha Stweart also has a Rum version from the same book.

  162. Sabina

    I love these cookies! I made them for the third time yesterday. They remind my partner of ‘alfajores,’ similar cookies that you stack together with a condensed milk cream filling.

  163. Lindsey

    I tried a couple while still warm. “Meh.” I said. “I’ve had better.”
    It was the next day that they became addicting! The friends that I was lucky enough to share them with also loved them. The problem with tiny cookies: it quickly becomes impossible to keep track of how many you’ve eaten.
    I’ve never had alfajores, but a Peruvian friend of mine also said that’s what they remind her of!

  164. Heather

    Jody #235–My dough was pretty crumbly, too, so I added a splash of extra lime juice and the dough came together. I was cursing them at the rolling in parchment stage (I’m a drop-cookie baker!) but they chilled nicely and were not difficult to slice. I left off the icing sugar coating, but half the batch still, ahem, melted away when my husband got home from work. I didn’t get anywhere near five dozen, though.

  165. Friederike

    Hi, I tried these, unfortunately they melted already while baking. What can make this happen? Too much heat? Cookies cut too thin? They still taste nice…

  166. Sara

    If you freeze the dough, can you slice the cookies easily? Or should you slice the chilled dough and freeze the individual cookies?

  167. Trisha

    Any chance you’ll add weight measurements? I can figure it out, I think, but if you have them already it would save some calculating.

  168. Kate

    For the cornflour you say 2 tablespoons but then also say 15g – 2 tablespoons are 30g? I threw in 30g last night and they are lovely but I am wondering if it would be better with less!

  169. Jennifer

    Help! I just tried to make these delectable-sounding cookies, and SK failed me (or I it) for the first time ever. The “dough” was a crumbly dry conconction. Can’t figure out what happened. Very sad. And hungry. And now I have nothing to bring to my neighborhood cookie exchange. But I love you regardless. And your photos.

  170. Shelby

    These are DELISH… trying something new though… wasn’t sure if anyone else has tried this. I changed out the lime zest with pecans and I did two tablespoons of vanilla to one tablespoon of bourbon (for adults only clearly). They are currently in the fridge awaiting cooking…. :)

  171. Marcee

    Is cornstarch a must? I have a corn allergy, but so very want to try these. Guessing I could just leave it out and add back the two removed tbs of flour?

  172. Jennifer

    So, these were amazing, but this tired distractable mama of 4 missed the Instruction to add only 1/3 of the sugar to the dough. Any chance you can help people like me by changing that ingredient to say: “1cup powdered sugar, divided”. I think I might have caught that cue!
    They were delicious, but I suspect they’d have been less crispy if id have followed the instructions properly!

  173. Rebecca

    Delicious! Thank you! The lime flavor is quite subtle–I think I will add another’s lime’s zest next time. Also, shaking in the bag (very gently) did not work for me–too many broke! At least I got to eat all of those! What a great find this recipe is.

  174. Michelle Alexandra

    I just wanted to say thank you for the killer recipe. We’ve done meltaways before in our house, but never lime ones and pretty much everyone in our house is a sucker for citrus. Seriously, when I was really little, the waitresses at my favorite restaurant would take me back into the kitchen and feed me lemons to give my parents some alone time.
    So seriously, this is epically lime for someone who can’t get enough lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange flavor in anything to be satisfied.

  175. Brandi Fong

    Such tasty little cookies!

    I was a bit liberal with the zest, and adjust to use a little less vanilla and a little more lime juice (I like a strong citrus flavor). Fourteen minutes was long enough in the oven.

    Having read others had trouble with the cookies breaking, I gently tossed them with sugar on a bowl rather than a bag and had no issues. I froze half the dough, and really only needed about 1/3 cup sugar to toss the baked cookies with.

  176. Rebekah Baylus

    I’m a nanny to 3 little ones aged 3 and under, and the 2 and 3 year old boys love limes, too! After squeezing wedges on their tacos, they eat the rest of the lime like oranges. It’s so funny to see. I can’t wait to try these. Thanks!

  177. ML

    Oh my gosh. I totally must try these. We snatch up bags of key limes when we see them in the store, and then zest and juice and freeze them in portions to fit a pie recipe that I have. I am just going to take one of those portions and make these awesome cookies.

  178. Julia

    I made these yesterday, and I like the taste, but I was hoping they’d be melty-er, and a bit more buttery. Am I asking the wrong thing from this particular cookie? Should I bake them for less time? I did the recommended 15 minutes, but imagine they’d be softer if I baked for less next time? What do you suggest?

  179. regben1

    Have made this before and we love them. All set to make now but, alas, I don’t have cornstarch. How will it effect the outcome is I don’t use it??

  180. Excellent cookies! Everyone in the family loves them. A few notes. The cookies were smaller than I expected, wish is fine, as a bite-sized portion of these delectable treats is just right. Also, I wish I’d zested another few key limes to make it a bit “limier.” Lastly, I realized (while cleaning out the beaters) that I’d not paid close enough attention to the specification in the recipe to use the paddle attachment. I’ll remember this next time I make them. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

  181. Amy

    I’m thinking of making these at a cookie bake. Can they be frozen after cooking? Then maybe putting the powdered sugar after thawing?

  182. If you had to substitute some other fat for the butter (due to a dairy allergy), would you go more towards coconut oil, or a vegan butter for this recipe?

    Side note, we really enjoy the double coconut meltaways of your second cookbook, so I’m inclined to try coconut oil, but don’t want to overwhelm the lime flavor.

  183. Louise

    Humm….. Down here in South Florida, ripe key limes are yellow. When I see a green slice of a “key lime” on a key lime pie, I think it is made with regular limes. But key limes are green before they ripen, and I think they are more tart when they are immature than when they are ripe. So maybe what you bought were key limes not fully ripe.

  184. Anna Speichinger

    These just came out of the oven and they are one of the best shortbread cookies I have ever had! The cookies is not too sweet, has a lovely pop of lime and a sweet coating finish. Perfect! Thank you, Deb!

  185. Amanda

    I made these for a ski trip last year, and they were a huge hit! And then this week I had a sudden craving for a lemon cookie. I remembered how much I liked these, so I just swapped lemon for lime (thanks to the lemon tree in my backyard, I have plenty), and they were exactly what I wanted!

  186. Ananya

    Me and my family absolutely love these cookies– my parents had something very similar to these at their wedding reception (21 years ago today!) and never fail to obliterate these within minutes. They’re also reminiscent of a cookie that Trader Joe’s used to carry (though, those were slightly sweeter), and I will literally never complain about that.

    Last time I made these, I wanted them a bit more citrusy, so I added some zest into the powdered sugar. I usually toss them in the sugar inside the box that I store these in – fewer things to clean up – which only really breaks a couple. I use the word “store” liberally, though– in spite of the fact that I get about fifty cookies from a whole log, they last two days in my house.

    Thank you for honestly the best cookie recipe I have ever come across! These also freeze incredibly– we usually have a log or two of dough in the freezer nowadays.

  187. Jennifer L. Greenberg

    What could I have done wrong? These flattened and “melted away”. Cooked on parchment, but turned into crumbles. Measured, followed instructions, etc. Trying to resurrect them as pie crust. Ideas?

  188. Allison L.

    Hi, I’m making the double coconut melt away version from your cookbook and evidently my coconut oil wasn’t the “firm” you instructed. It’s a melty blob and won’t ball up in the food processor, even after refrigerating. Any hope or tips to save it? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Try adding a bit more ground coconut or flour and it should set up better. I’m sorry it’s giving you trouble. We tested it what we thought was thoroughly but there do seem to be different results from others and I’m not quite sure why some coconut oils seem more liquidy than others when baked.

      1. Allison L

        Don’t apologize! It hardened up in the fridge overnight and baked flat instead of as rounds, but still delicious. Next time I’ll try to freeze the coconut oil before adding to food processor, or maybe try the by-hand version. Thank you!

  189. Lanam

    Made as written using Nellie and Joe Key Like Juice (not Key West Lime) and the zest of one lemon. (I was looking for recipes to use up the rest of the bottle.) I sifted confectioner sugar over the cookies rather than tossing in a bag because I didn’t want too much sweetness. Delicious still warm and at room temperature.

  190. Misslinder

    In true me fashion I charged ahead without reading the instructions! All of the powdered sugar went into the batter. Proceeded anyway and turned out just fine. The lime favor is nice. I didn’t bother dusting with sugar because of my mistake. I suspect these would be even better if I followed the recipe.

  191. Katy

    I didn’t have enough icing sugar to dredge so half dipped them in dark chocolate instead. I think this really highlights the lime, although I think next time I will probably replace the vanilla with lime juice and maybe add another lime’s worth of zest. They are delicious (even without the cornflour, which I was also out of)

  192. Sara

    I’ve made these every year at Christmas for about a decade. I like the lime to really punch me in the face, so instead of dusting with sugar I make a glaze that’s about 1.5 cups icing sugar, 3 tablespoons lime juice, with some lime zest to make it pretty. The result is very lime forward, but not overwhelming because the cookies are so small. They’re perfect.

      1. Sara

        Yes, I do wait for them to cool. Mine are about 1.75″ across. I just glazed this years batch this morning – for a single batch of this recipe, the glaze needed is more like 3/4 cup of icing sugar and about 3 tbsps lime juice.

  193. ISABEL

    So happy to have you in my in-box Monday mornings. Lately, as we all know, the news could be a lot better. However, reading your column and salivating your recipes, it all gives me such pleasure and a better view of the world. Thank you Deb for sharing. Living in NYC I can visit the many latino shops that I know will carry key limes. Let the baking begin.

  194. Mel

    I beat the zest in with the butter to really extract the flavor, which was needed because my sad little limes didn’t even give me 2T of juice, had to top up with lemon.
    I couldn’t wait an hour for these to chill so I rolled them into little balls and pressed flat. I had accidentally added the whole cup of sugar so only lightly dusted them afterwards. They were great!