We had do a couple unique steps before we began to make the dough so you will have to do a bit of pre-planning if you want to make these. The first step is mixing fresh Key lime zest with mild canola oil and allowing them to sit and let the intense flavor from the zest infuse into the oil. The next step is reducing down 6 tablespoons of fresh Key lime juice to just 2 1/2 tablespoons to condense the tart flavor without adding too much liquid to the dough. Once the soft dough has been made and divided, it is rolled out between pieces of parchment paper so you don't need to add additional flour that will toughen the dough. Before cutting out the circles, the dough needs a chance to firm up - it goes into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes at this point. The well-chilled dough is then cut into circles and each round is cut in half. If the dough has warmed up too much to easily move them to the baking sheets, you can stick them in the freezer for a couple minutes. After being transfered, each half is scattered with a generous amount of coarse lime-tinted sugar. The cookies bake just until golden around the edges and then they need to fully cool before you begin to decorate them.
To suggest that they are slices of limes, a quick icing of confectioners' sugar, Key lime juice and a few drops of coloring are combined. This mixture is then piped in lines around the cooled cookies. I would suggest using a fine #2 tip to do this or a pastry cone made from parchment paper - I had issues getting nice clean lines with mine as my smallest pastry tip is a #4. I would have liked them to be a little nicer looking, but I guess we can just call them "rustic" right? The cookies themselves are very crisp and pack a wallop of a sweet, yet still tart flavor. As you start to nibble your first bite, you immediately notice how the strong citrus scent commands your attention. The coarse sugar brings a sandy crunch on top with the firm icing adding a sweet lime accent. Be sure to try these with the little fresh Key limes - I know they are no fun to juice, but it is worth it!
Key Lime Sugar Cookies