Hi there 👋 I made you some cookies.I mean, I baked them last week and ate them all already, but you understand, right? Things that taste like Key Lime Pie but fit in the palm of your hand are difficult to resist.These are linzer cookies—basically sandwich cookies with little cut-out picture windows to show the filling, which is traditionally jam. Today, I decided to go in another direction with flavors reminiscent of key lime pie. I just love the results—they look so sunny and happy.The cookie recipe is a spin on my favorite roll-out sugar cookies, although you might not be able to tell from the list of ingredients. I nixed the cream cheese, upped the brown sugar, added pinches of cinnamon and ginger, and swapped a bunch of the flour for graham cracker crumbs.You’ll notice one glaring omission in these linzers: I left out the traditional nuts. While most recipes have almonds or pecans (or hazelnuts) blitzed into the dough, I found the addition of graham cracker crumbs to be more than adequate. The result is a crisp cut-out cookie with a hint of graham and spice—the perfect compliment to the key lime filling.Speaking of filling, you’re going to want to put this stuff on everything. Toast, vanilla wafers, ice cream, swirled into yogurt, eaten off a spoon, and probably five other things I haven’t thought of yet. It’s basically key lime pie filling that’s cooked over a double boiler and then allowed to chill until rich, thick, tangy and delicious. It has the texture of a citrus curd, but is half the work and requires only three ingredients! Yesssss. The filling recipe makes a bit more than you’ll need for these cookies, so you’ll have plenty leftover to use elsewhere. Trust me, you’ll be glad to have this stuff around.While it’s good in all sorts of applications, this creamy, dreamy key lime filling is especially good sandwiched between two thin cookies and topped off with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. I think most things are.
Key Lime Linzer Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies
Key Lime Filling:
2/3 cup key lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
graduated cookie cutters
sifter or wire mesh colander
Make the filling. Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.
In the heatproof bowl, whisk together key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer filling to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until you are assembling cookies. This may be done up to 2 days in advance.
Make the cookie dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Divide dough into 4 parts.
Working with one quarter at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.
While the dough is freezing, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies. Use a smaller cookie cutter to punch the centers out of half the cookies. Place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.
Bake cookies 7-8 minutes, until turning pale golden. Let cookies cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with any remaining dough.
Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.
Spread each whole cookie with 1 teaspoon of filling (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.
Key Lime Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.