These buttery, lime-infused cookies found in Food & Wine Magazine are topped with a sweet-and-sour glaze and finished with flaky sea salt and lime zest. A nice counterpart to the more typical sweetly-iced Christmas cookies.
Using traditional Mexican flavors and ingredients in nontraditional ways is one of chef Esteban Castillo’s favorite things to do at Chicano Eats, so taking the classic margarita cocktail and turning it into a cookie was a no-brainer. And a very adult-like treat.
The cookies are infused with agave nectar (or in our case, local honey) and fresh lime juice for a sweet-and-sour kiss of citrus and then finished with a glaze that incorporates lime juice and lime zest as well as a touch of tequila to really tie together the signature cocktail flavor.
The high ratio of butter to flour yields a short, or crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Chill the dough well before slicing to allow the butter to resolidify. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. Unglazed cookies can be frozen up to 1 month. Thaw completely at room temperature before topping with tequila-lime glaze.
The end result shape-wise was supposed to be a circle, although I shaped my logs in more oval format. While maybe not the most visually attractive, the taste elevates them to another level. Which got me thinking once they were baked, the ideal shape would be to use a margarita glass cookie cutter! And given the popularity of these cookies, I will be making more…
I doubled the cookie dough recipe, but kept the glaze to a single batch, which was more than plenty to ice the tops, even had some leftover.
1 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest plus 3 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
Flaky sea salt, white sparkling sugar, and lime zest, for garnish (optional)
Make the cookie dough:
Beat butter, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lime juice and agave; beat on low speed until just combined, about 15 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour; beat on low speed until evenly incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a smooth log (about 9 inches long). Wrap logs individually in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper third and lower third positions. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Unwrap 1 dough log on a clean work surface (keeping remaining log chilled), and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (about 36 cookies per log). Arrange cookies 1 inch apart on 2 prepared baking sheets. Transfer to freezer; chill 15 minutes. Bake in preheated oven until edges are just beginning to brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks after 7 minutes of baking time. Remove from oven.
Let cookies cool completely on baking sheet, about 30 minutes. While cookies bake and cool, repeat the cutting, freezing, and baking process with remaining dough log and remaining prepared baking sheets.
Make the tequila-lime glaze:
Whisk together powdered sugar, tequila, and lime zest and juice in a medium bowl until smooth and thick. (Don’t be tempted to add any more liquid; the glaze will be very thick, but that’s the perfect consistency.)
Scoop tequila-lime glaze evenly on centers of cookies (about 3/4 teaspoon per cookie). Using the back of a spoon, spread glaze over cookies, leaving a 1/4-inch border around cookie edge. Before the icing sets, garnish lightly with flaky sea salt to taste, sparkling sugar, and lime zest, if desired. Let cookies stand until glaze hardens, about 30 minutes.
Spiced cookies are a favorite of The Hubs. So when he spotted this recipe on The NYTimes Cooking site, he immediately sent me a link… of course we had to try them. In fact, I made a double batch, one for an Art Opening we were attending, and one for the house.
“Biting into one of these cookies is like taking the first sip of a festive beverage, and their spiced coffee fragrance gives your kitchen cozy holiday vibes. A combination of fresh and ground ginger adds an extra note of warmth that accentuates the coffee flavor and other spices, while the espresso-sugar coating creates crisp edges that yield to pillowy-soft interiors. Pair it with your milk of choice and you have a gingerbread latte in a single bite.”
My double batch, rolled into 1 1⁄2 inch balls (smaller than the 2″ suggested size) yielded 58 cookies, nearly 5 dozen. After 2 hours refrigeration time, the dough was easily workable. Even though my finished cookies were smaller—2 1⁄2 to 3 inches in diameter—they still took the full 10 minutes to bake, turning the baking sheet halfway through.
NOTE: If you are using a scale to measure amounts, the original recipe called for ¼ cup/158 grams unsulphured molasses. The quarter cup measurement is correct, but the 158 grams is too much and should be 85 grams.
Tip: Portioned dough can be frozen in balls, then coated and baked for about 13 minutes.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium. When it begins to bubble and get foamy, remove from the heat and whisk in the espresso powder, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Scrape the butter mixture into a medium mixing bowl and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Add the sugars, molasses and salt to the bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Add the egg, vanilla and baking soda and continue whisking until the mixture appears smooth and it’s the consistency of thin pancake batter, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and mix until evenly incorporated. Cover and chill the dough for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
Heat oven to 375 degrees, with racks on the lower and upper thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare the coating by combining the granulated sugar, espresso powder and ground ginger in a small bowl.
Using a 2-tablespoon (1 ounce) scoop, scoop the dough and, using your hands, roll into walnut-size balls. (Alternatively, for each cookie, use a tablespoon measure to scoop 2 tablespoons dough and roll them into a ball.) Toss in the sugar mixture to coat.
Place the portioned dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake, rotating the sheets on the racks halfway through, until the cookies have spread slightly and appear craggy on the surface, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (The cookies will flatten once cooled.) These cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
Here’s another cookie without eggs as an ingredient. And you might be a bit confused because they get baked in muffin tins. Chef/author Dorie Greenspan claims, the purpose of which helps to caramelize the bottoms—thus the name. However, I think that’s stretching the truth a bit. The butter in the tin cups does make them easy to remove but doesn’t necessarily give them a noticeable caramelized bottom—but by no means takes away from the wonderful flavor of the cookie.
Once the dough has been refrigerated, it’s just a matter of cutting the logs into 1/2-inch slices, popping them into the muffin cups, and baking. Dorie says “You might be tempted to use a baking sheet, but I hope you won’t—the texture is really best in the muffin tins.” Seeing as how they disappeared quickly after baking them, I’d say they were a hit!
2 sticks unsalted butter, (8 oz.) cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping cup of chunks of dark chocolate, or large chips
In a large bowl, beat the butter, both sugars, and the salt together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour all at once. Pulse a few times, just until the risk of flying flour has passed, and then beat on low speed until the flour is almost completely incorporated. Don’t beat too much—you want the mixture to be more clumpy than smooth.
Add the chocolate and fold in with a flexible spatula.
Knead the dough if necessary so it comes together. Divide it in half, and shape each hunk into a 6-inch-long log; they will be a scant 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. (The logs can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 2 months.)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a muffin tin—two if you have them. Mark one log at ½-inch intervals, then cut into rounds with a chef’s knife, cutting hard through the chips. Place each puck in a muffin cup. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are browned around the edges and slightly soft in the center.
Let the cookies rest for 3 minutes, then gently pry each one out with the tip of a table knife and let cool on a rack. Let the pan cool, then repeat with the remaining log. Serve the cookies warm or at room temperature.