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Easy drop cookies bursting with tangy Key lime juice, crunchy graham cracker crumbs, and creamy white chocolate.
The first official week of summer is upon us, so it’s time for some SUMMERY things. And what better to kick off this first week of summer than straight.up.citrus?
I have to admit, these cookies were a serious split decision recipe. As in…
I was updating my Key lime pie bars recipe (check that one out for fresh photos and updated recipe!) and then decided that I wanted to use the leftover juice for cocktails with the neighbors (we did a simple rum + Key lime juice + simple syrup drink + crushed ice situation) and then another recipe.
And not only that, when I saw it was a cookie dough that didn’t need to be refrigerated, I was all in.
A quick note on the Key lime juice: I found mine in the cocktail section of the grocery store. You can also find it on Amazon.
And my recipe for Key lime pie bars? There’s a list of recipes from other bloggers around the interwebs you can use some more juice in.
These Key lime cookies are quite simple: the base is made with butter, brown sugar, and lime zest.
Brown sugar brings moisture and also a deeper sweetness to the whole cookie. Combine that with some crunchy graham crackers, and the base of these Key lime cookies is similar to the base of a Key lime pie (or, you know, my Key lime pie bars).
CREAM THE ZEST WITH THE BUTTER FOR MAXIMUM FLAVOR
Here’s a fun fact: I like to cream any zest I’m using in with the butter to
1) help distribute the flavor of the zest and
2) use the butter (the fat in the recipe) as a mega flavor vehicle.
Creaming the zest in with the butter and sugar insures the flavor gets to every single nook and cranny of these cookies. It’s my favorite citrus baking tip!
If you can find Key limes, absolutely use Key lime zest. But if you can’t, regular limes will do just fine.
And if you can’t find Key lime juice, a mix of fresh lemon + fresh lime juice will do the trick. Equal parts of each.
We’ll use one egg yolk to act as the glue for the cookie dough, but we’re leaving the white out of it.
I wanted these cookies to be nice and soft but I didn’t want to give them too much lift (Shelly’s cookies use a whole egg). I also wanted to keep the crunch factor of the graham crackers a bit intact, so keeping the cookies on the less moist and flatter side helped with that.
Shelly drizzles her cookies with white chocolate, but I wanted to put the white chocolate inside the cookies. I used chopped white chocolate, but white chocolate chips work just as nicely. If you’d rather leave out the chips and do some drizzling on the finished cookies, go for it!
The flavor is EXCELLENT. A little tangy, sweet and creamy from the white chocolate, and a buttery finish thanks to the added graham crackers.
I am a gigantic fan of cookies with texture in them, and while there aren’t any giant chunks of graham crackers in these cookies, they do have some unsuspecting crunchy pockets thanks to some perfectly hidden graham cracker chunks.
Matt, the king of cookies, deemed these easy Key lime cookies in the TOP FIVE cookies I’ve ever made. Which is huge, considering my compost cookies are his top favorite cookie of mine ever (they’re epic).
We thought these cookies were different enough that they make a fun addition to a dessert table, but not so different that they might not appeal to the masses. These cookies are straight up THE BOMB DIGGITY.
And I think we might need to get another bottle of Key lime juice just to make them again… And again…
And probably again.
Key Lime Cookies
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (135g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons (75g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (about half of a lime)
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and ½ Tablespoons (23mL) Key lime juice
- ½ cup finely crushed (120g) graham cracker crumbs about 8 full sheets
- 2 ounces white chocolate (chips or coarsely chopped) (about ¼ cup)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large size bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and lime zest on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer down to low, then add the egg yolk, vanilla, and Key lime juice and continue beating until everything is incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients, and continue to mix on low until dough starts to come together. Add the graham cracker crumbs and white chocolate and mix again until everything is evenly dispersed.
- Using a cookie scoop (I use this #50 cookie scoop for all of my standard size cookies), drop rounded balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies at room temperature up to 5 days. Rolled cookie dough freezes well, up to 2 months. Place on baking sheet frozen and bake for 11-13 minutes.