Because a devoted reader asked for this recipe, I’m sharing it with all of you. First, a few notes:

I don’t usually endorse specific products at this site, but a Microplane brand citrus zester is a tool I have found indispensible in my kitchen. It’s a one-time investment—I’ve had mine for years and it’s still as sharp as the day I purchased it. The reason you want such a tool is so that you can “skin-off” the brightly-colored outer peel of any citrus fruit without picking up any of the bitter white pith underneath. (Believe me, you don’t want that in most dishes.) An alternative (in case you want to make this without the zester), is a trick that I developed many years ago. Make sure the citrus (lemon, orange, lime, etc.), is well chilled, and use a sharp vegetable peeler to gently remove thin shavings of the outer peel taking care not to pick up the pith underneath. Ah, but then, you are going to have to put those shavings on a cutting board and mince them finely with a knife! (In other words, two steps in the process, compared to one if you just invest in the zester.)

Next, you really need to find unsweetened coconut for this recipe. I realize that can be a challenge in rural areas, but if you seek out a natural foods or health food store near you, maybe you’ll find it there. You can also find it online if you are so inclined. However, if in a pinch, a substitute available in most places is frozen coconut. Yes, it contains some sugar, but not in the way that most of the products on the “baking isle” of your local grocer do, and it is usually shredded much more finely (which is what you want in this recipe).

Finally, you might be inclined to ask about the dried egg white powder I suggest in the icing recipe. I have found that it is fairly easy to find in most places. In the baking isle of the grocer, look for a product called “Just Whites.” If that is not available, go to Michael’s or Wal-Mart and seek out the meringue powder made by Wilton. These two products are not exactly the same as “Just Whites” is pure powdered egg whites, and the meringue powder contains other substances, but either can be used successfully in the icing.
Now, on to the recipe!

Cookie Dough:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
finely grated zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, lime zest, juice, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour, salt and coconut stirring until just combined. The dough will be soft and sticky. That’s OK! Lay 2 sheets of plastic wrap out on the countertop and sprinkle with a bit of flour. Divide the dough in half and turn each onto one of the plastic wrap sheets and gently mold each one into a cylinder using the wrap to rock the dough back and forth. Gently roll the tube of dough onto a big piece of waxed paper. Secure the edges, and chill in the refrigerator until firm (several hours or overnight). If you want to make the cookies really “pretty” and consistent, stuff the roll of dough inside an empty paper towel tube. (In most cases I skip this step, because I don’t need things to be pretty when the only one eating the finished product is me…but if I am expecting quests I take the extra step).

When the dough has chilled until firm, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line heavy baking sheets with parchment paper, slice the dough logs into ¼ inch thick pieces, lay them about an inch apart on the baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheet pan for two minutes. Then, remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they have cooled, make the icing.

Royal Lime Icing:
2 ½ tablespoons powdered egg whites or meringue powder
finely grated zest of one lime
juice of one lime, strained through a fine-mesh strainer with enough additional water to equal ¼ cup
½ lb (8 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
2 drops coconut extract (optional)
(more coconut shreds)

Place the egg whites or meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the lime and water mixture and beat until homogenous. Add the powdered sugar and optional extract and beat until combined. The icing should be fairly fluid. If not, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is of a “drizzling” consistency. Place the icing in a plastic zip-loc style bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal. Snip off a tiny hole on one corner of the bottom of the bag, and drizzle the icing over the cookies in a zigzag fashion by gently squeezing the bag over the cookies. Immediately sprinkle the cookies with additional coconut…just lightly mind you. Let the icing set and harden completely (several hours). Pack in airtight containers layering with sheets of waxed paper.  These are better the day after they are made and will last for up to a week stored at cool room temperature. You can also freeze these successfully for an additional month or two.

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