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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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
- In a processor fitted with the steel blade, process the toasted coconut to a fine grind.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and stir in the ground coconut. Reserve.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, lime zest, and vanilla bean seeds.
- Add the lime juice, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and salt, and incorporate.
- Add the flour-coconut mixture and mix on very slow speed very briefly, just until a dough forms.
- 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.)
- When you are ready to bake, remove one dough rectangle at a time from the frig and slice cookies widthwise into ¼-inch thickness.
- Arrange cookies one inch apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with fine sanding sugar or luster.
- Bake at 325° for about 20-22 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning.
- Remove from the oven, immediately loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and set on a wire rack to cool.
- 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.
Follow along as we bake this year’s cookie collection, and check out our past two collections:
- Season 3: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Silver Bells
- Season 2: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Starry Night
- Season 1: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Deck the Halls
Copyright 2010 Susan S. Bradley. All Rights Reserved.