I've had the idea for making key lime pie cookies for a while now. It was one of those recipes I'd run through in my head trying to think of ways to nail down the flavors before I made the big step of committing it to The List for ever and ever.
The cookie part was simple. Graham crackers! Just like the crust for a real key lime pie. I knew what to do from the get-go because I've had really good results using ground-up graham crackers in my cookies before.
There were two elements that tripped me up, though: the form and the flavor.
Did I want a stuffed cookie? A thumbprint cookie? Or a regular drop cookie with all the key lime pie flavors mixed in together in the dough?
And how was I going to integrate the lime without the flavor being too weak or too overpowering and artificial tasting. How was I going to balance the citrus?
Ahh...these are the things that cause the Oatmeal Cookie Guy to lie awake at night.
And then it hit me. Why reinvent the wheel? Make a key lime pie cookie that is just that--a cookie version of a key lime pie. Duh! The cookie version of the pie's graham cracker crust was taken care of, so I got to work experimenting with the pie part. I considered fortifying lemon curd with lime, but that would be too citrusy. So I pulled out a box of instant vanilla pudding mix and went to town. I replaced the milk with a smaller amount of lime juice, added a mess of lime zest, and--because I have so much of it, and because it's so yummy--some lime extract. (If you don't have lime extract, feel free to leave it out or to replace it with an equal amount of lime juice.)
These look and taste just like mini key lime pies. The ground-up graham cracker/oatmeal cookie base is the perfect foundation for the sweet/tart, sharp/smooth combination of the lime/vanilla pudding filling. For an even more enhanced element of verisimilitude, pop these guys in the fridge before munching. Cool, refreshing, sweet, and fresh. Bring on the summer!
Makes 2 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Key Lime Pie Cookies.)
1 cup lime juice
1 stick butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup finely ground graham crackers|
1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely ground oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the thumbprint filling and refrigerate until step 10.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
- In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
- Add the combined wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Shape dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Use your thumb to make an indentation in each dough ball. Fill each indentation with 1 teaspoon of the lime/vanilla pudding mixture.
- Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.