Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Crumbly shortbread cookies filled with a sweet and tangy key lime cream cheese, these thumbprint cookies are a must-bake treat. Your favorite key lime pie in cookie form!
Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies pinit

About This Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

A fun twist on the classic key lime pie, these key lime shortbread thumbprint cookies are a bite-sized version of the pie and so much simpler to make while still retaining all the flavors that make a key lime pie so popular!

I have always loved thumbprint cookies because they are so versatile, and you can make them with different flavors and fillings. Jam thumbprint cookies are very common, but if you’re looking for less sweet and subtler flavors, these key lime thumbprint cookies are just what you need.

Shortbread cookies are very good at taking on other flavors, from lemon and orange zest to key lime or even warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

These cookies are made by infusing key lime into the shortbread cookie dough and then rolling them in Digestive biscuits crumbs. They are then baked and filled with a tart key lime cream cheese filling.

The Digestive biscuits crumbs do a fantastic job of making these cookies imitate the texture and taste of a key lime pie.

Though the shortbread cookie dough and the cream cheese filling need some time in the refrigerator, the cookies are still very easy and quick to make.

Crisp and crumbly with a bright, zesty key lime cream cheese filling, these cookies can get pretty addictive!

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

What You Need for This Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter: The butter needs to be unsalted, and to avoid lumps, it should be softened at room temperature.
  • Sugar: I have used white granulated sugar, but you may use brown sugar if you like. It’ll give the cookies a darker color and will add a slight molasses flavor.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: The sweetened condensed milk helps to thicken and sweeten the cream cheese filling.
  • Flour: I have used plain/all-purpose flour.
  • Key Lime: Key limes give the cookies that tartness and fresh zesty flavor. Freshly squeezed key lime juice is preferred for this recipe, but you can also use bottled key lime juice or even regular lime juice.
  • Cream Cheese: I have used full-fat cream cheese softened at room temperature for a smoother texture.
  • Digestive Biscuits Crumbs: I have used Digestive biscuits, but you may use graham crackers or other store-bought sweet cookies or biscuits.

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Key Limes: Key limes are more tart and aromatic than regular limes, but you may use regular limes in this recipe if you can’t find key limes.
  • Digestive Biscuits Crumbs: I have used Digestive biscuits crumbs, but graham crackers or other store-bought sweet cookies or biscuits will also work great to make the crumbs.

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

FAQs

Can I store these cookies?

Yes. These key lime shortbread thumbprint cookies are delicious when they are fresh, but they can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I make these shortbread cookies in advance?

Yes, both the cookies and the key lime cream cheese keep in the freezer for up to 2 months as long as they are nicely packed.

Can I use salted butter to make the cookies?

Yes, you can use salted butter but remember to omit the additional salt.

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 20 min Rest Time 70 min Total Time 1 hr 50 mins

Description

Crisp key lime shortbread thumbprint cookies with a sweet and tart cream cheese filling that make them zesty, bright, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Yield: around 25 cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies

For the filling

How To Make Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step By Step

  1. Start by making the shortbread cookies dough. In a large mixer bowl, combine the softened unsalted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, key lime zest, and key lime juice, and beat on medium speed until all ingredients are combined, and the mixture is creamy.

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 1-1

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 1-2

  2. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl if needed, reduce the speed to low, gradually add the flour, and beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not over mix. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 2-1

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 2-2

  3. In the meantime, prepare the key lime cream cheese filling. In a bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add the sweetened condensed milk, the freshly squeezed key lime juice, and key lime zest and beat until blended and smooth. Transfer the filling to a separate bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 3
  4. Preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉) and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone mat. Shape the dough with your hands into 2 cm (1 inch) balls and roll them in Digestive biscuits crumbs to coat. Place the cookie dough on the prepared baking sheet. Make an indentation in the center of each cookie dough ball with your thumb or a teaspoon, but make sure not to flatten the dough ball completely. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 4-1

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 4-2

  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven and reform and enlarge the thumbprints if needed, then allow the cookies to cool down. When cookies are completely cooled, spoon the key lime cream cheese filling into the thumbprints. Sprinkle some more key lime zest if you wish. Enjoy!

    Key Lime Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies Step 1

Note

  • Chilling the shortbread cookie dough is important; it will help to keep the shape.
  • You can make the key lime cream cheese a day ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until your cookies are ready. The filling sets better when it is cold.
  • The key lime cream cheese filling stays a bit sticky even when it is cold, so these cookies aren’t great for stacking.
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