Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

On the eleventh day of Christmas…  my true love gave to me … Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread.

To my palate, coconut and lime are a pairing made in heaven. Coconut on its own is subtle and seductive, like a lazy summer afternoon. Add lime, and it’s party time.

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

I admit I may be biased on this, as I love lime with almost everything. It is definitely my favorite citrus fruit and our frig is always well stocked. Not a panic if I run out of lemon, but let the lime stash dwindle to almost zero, and it’s Costco-run time. (Thank God for Costco, by the way, as limes are often super expensive elsewhere.)

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

Now let’s take this flavor pairing one step further and add vanilla bean. Holy moly, out of this world! You will want to package these in cellophane gift bags and give them to everyone you know.

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

Because this cookie has such remarkable flavor, I prefer to leave it undecorated, and then watch people’s expressions when they bite into it. If you wish though, you can of course sprinkle the cookies with a little sanding sugar or luster to make them look more festive on the Christmas cookie platter.

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

Coconut Vanilla Lime Shortbread

Toasted coconut, lime, vanilla bean, and browned butter: a Christmas cookie flavor combination a bit unexpected, as well as out of this world.  You will be hounded mercilessly until you bake these for everyone. We eat them all year long.

To give some variety to the Christmas cookie display, I make this cookie long and narrow. Actually though, you can shape them anyway you like. They are wonderful rolled and cut with traditional cookie cutters, then finished with sanding sugar or luster.

Baking Note   For best results, cookies must be COLD when they go into the oven. Otherwise, they may spread too much. Always give cookies plenty of space to spread regardless, at least an inch between cookies. Baking times are APPROXIMATE. Correct baking times are critical to the success of your cookies. Test your oven and pan setup with a few cookies to start with and watch the timing closely. Dark pans bake faster than light pans or air-sandwiched pans. Silicon mat-lined pans bake faster than parchment-lined pans. Cookies that are rolled to 1/8-inch thick bake faster than cookies rolled to ¼-inch thick. And your oven may be running hot or cold. There are so many variables. Do test a couple of cookies first. It may save an entire batch later.

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted
3 cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour

1½ cups fresh unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (3 cubes)
1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 2 large limes
scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

clear sanding sugar or luster, optional

  1. In a processor fitted with the steel blade, process the toasted coconut to a fine grind.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and stir in the ground coconut. Reserve.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, lime zest, and vanilla bean seeds.
  4. Add the lime juice, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and salt, and incorporate.
  5. Add the flour-coconut mixture and mix on very slow speed very briefly, just until a dough forms.
  6. Divide dough in half. Form each portion into a 12-inch long by 2¼-inch wide by 1-inch deep log. Wrap well in plastic wrap and frig for at least 2 hours or overnight. (The sealed dough can be refrigerated for 2-3 days if necessary.)
  7. When you are ready to bake, remove one dough rectangle at a time from the frig and slice cookies widthwise into ¼-inch thickness.
  8. Arrange cookies one inch apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with fine sanding sugar or luster.
  9. Bake at 325° for about 20-22 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning.
  10. Remove from the oven, immediately loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and set on a wire rack to cool.
  11. Store airtight in layers separated by wax paper rounds in a cookie tin in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve with age. They keep for 3-4 weeks.

Makes about 8 dozen, 2½-inch by 1½–inch cookies.

There’s More

Follow along as we bake this year’s cookie collection, and check out our past two collections:

Copyright 2010 Susan S. Bradley. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. Michelle from Vancouver BC says

    Ok, not sure there are words to describe how good these cookies are?! I was in coconut-lime heaven. I shaped the dough so that I cut long finger type cookies and the then drizzled with white chocolate once cooled. Huge hit for the work crowd, lost count on how many times I printed the recipe for co-workers?
    Half the plate was these cookies and the other half was the Once in a chocolate-spice moon cookies ….. also amazing cookies!

  2. rose says

    i just made these oh, so yummy cookies and our house smells so good…i made 2 recipes and will be making some more tomorrow…these will be my special christmas present for my relatives…thank you again for sharing with us your recipes..and your white chocolate raspberry cheesecake is so far my husbands favorite!!!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Rose, I’m delighted they turned out so well for you. Yay! :-) Tell your husband I am making a Gingered Cranberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake tonight. Might that be something he would like? (Did you see the Spiced Pumpkin & White Chocolate Cheesecake post?)

      • rose says

        hello again, susan…the spiced pumpkin cheesecake looks yummy!!! haven’t tried that yet since i’ll be making some more coconut vanilla lime cookies, a special request by my niece, who by the way, is a picky eater. she tried the cookies ( my christmas gifts for the family) and her mom told me she finished the whole thing !!!!!!! since we have a large familty, i only gave them a dozen each family…i made 7 dozens and it looks like i’ll be making some more..many thanks to you !!

        • Susan S. Bradley says

          Hi Rose! Your story about your niece really tickles me. My neice and nephew literally fight over the cookies, stealing and hiding other people’s gifts. They say they are the best cookies in the entire world. :-)

  3. Crystal says

    Wow. These are delicious!! I love lime, coconut and vanilla and your recipe takes the combo to a whole other level. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Beth says

    Hi Susan,
    Can you review making the log again? Had a friend make these for a cookie swap that I host and 9 x 8 x 1 1/2 inches doesn’t make sense when you want to end up with 2 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inches. Somehow the log isn’t a log – it’s a sheet. We understand the height, it’s just the LxW that doesn’t make sense.

    Thanks! PS – the kaleidoscope cookies were awesome!


    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Hi Beth! Good catch, thank you! I just corrected the post. That sentence should read: Form each portion into a 12-inch long by 2¼-inch wide by 1-inch deep log. Best…Susan

  5. rose says

    I don’t have the vanilla bean..can i use the regular vanilla flavor instead? and how many tsp should i use? HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY !!!!

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Rose, oh yes, just use the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract specified and skip the vanilla bean seeds. It will be delicious nonetheless. Happy Holidays to You and Yours! :-) …Susan

  6. sally says

    No one wants to steal your pictures, I just want to print the recipe, not the 16 pages I get by hitting print—your settings have disabled the ability to select a print area.

    • says

      Hi Sally,

      Sorry you’re having a problem. At the end of each post is an icon called Print Friendly. Click this button. It opens a page that enables you to delete any pictures or text you don’t want. Just hover over the text and click to delete the pictures or paragraph you don’t want. If you make a mistake click the Undo button. When you have the text the way you want it click print. If you make a mistake, go back and click the Print Friendly button again and start fresh. You can also download the entire post along with the pictures as a PDF.

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Dana, we have the same dreams. Only I’m eating the cookies right now. I have to stop or there will be none left to give. :-) Funny you should mention eggnog. I’ve had that on my mind lately. Maybe a poundcake? Cheesecake? Tea bread? Merry Merry!!!

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