i'm melting away.

There's a cookie recipe I've been dying to share with you, but I fear I may spontaneously combust with joy if I don't tell you some terribly exciting news right this very second. I haven't had time to do a proper happy-dance because I've been so wonderfully busy getting the whole thing situated, and if I sit still for too long I tend to squeal to myself with delight, so here we go: I'm officially a citizen blogger for the Frederick News Post! I'll be writing a twice-weekly blog called The Sweet Life and you should most definitely check it out. Bookmark it even. Tell your friends, your family, your Aunt Leslie in Michigan, tell everyone, I'd love you for life if you pass it along. So as it happens, I've been incredibly blessed and I'm forever grateful to all of you who continue to support and encourage me in my writing and general food obsession. I love you all more than chocolate cake, and mercy - that's a lot.

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. - Isaiah 26.12

My heart flutters to think about it. Amazing. But you know what else is amazing? Key Lime Meltaways, that's what.

Now I've ever been an enormous fan of shortbread cookies, most likely because it involves patience to chill the dough and I think we all know where I stand on the patience issue. I've made a key lime pie more than once in my life, I even got a little wild with a recipe once and made the crust out of pretzels instead of graham crackers. The salty snap of the pretzels begs the filling to not be so tooth-achingly sweet, and it is oh so convincing. As much as I hate to give away all my secrets, I once made the crust with ground cashews combined with the graham cracker crumbs and I daresay I liked it even better than the pretzels. My only rendez-vous with key lime cookies was a few years ago when Mom came home with a pre-packaged box of key lime cookie mix - a gift from one of her co-workers. In true Brittany fashion, I snubbed the boxed mix and smuggled it to the back of the pantry where I was sure it would spend several lonely months just waiting to meet its expiration date and then I could guiltlessly chuck it into the bottom of the garbage can.

My evil plan did not go quite so smoothly. Barely a week went by before it managed to find its way out of the graveyard that is the bottom of the pantry and onto the kitchen island. I cringed at the sight of it - it was like a horror movie where the bad guy makes it a point to appear in unlikely places only to scare the living daylights out of our heroine. And here it sat, it's tee-pee shaped box taunting me with unnaturally colored palm trees and a poorly sketched beach scene printed on the front. I tip-toed toward it - could I just throw it away without anyone noticing? If I ripped it into a thousand pieces and scattered them across various continents, would it pull itself back together to insist I make it? I decided I better not risk it.

The powdered mix smelled entirely too pungent, more like citrus floor cleanser than a cookie mix, but I whisked and sliced and baked until the sandy little cookies were ready to be tossed in a cloud of powdered sugar. I didn't want to enjoy them, but I did. The powdered sugar melts exactly as their namesake implies, giving way to the tart (although still artificial, in this case) taste of limes and a crumbly, butter cookie underneath. I flinched when I came across the recipe for these little cuties again, but I was certain I could make them even better. These bite sized little darlings are the perfect marriage of buttery shortbread and tart lime, dissolving on your tongue like magical beach flavored cookies.

Key Lime Meltaways
From Martha Stewart

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (plus 1 cup more for coating)
Grated zest of 4 tiny or 2 large key limes (or two regular limes)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the lime zest, juice and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Roll the dough into 2 logs, each about 1 1/4 diameter across, wrap in parchment paper and then chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, put the cup of confectioners' sugar for coating, set aside. (You could also toss them in a large Ziploc bag, but my method finally gave me a purpose for that deep-fry-tool-thingy I never use). Remove the dough from the parchment and slice into 1/4 inch thick round. Place them on the baking sheets, about an inch apart - they won't spread out very much.

Bake until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack immediately out of the oven (they're crispy-no worries) and allow to cool slightly, just 3 or 4 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, toss with the powdered sugar and then allow to cool completely on the wire rack.

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