Key Lime Sparkler Cookies


So wait… summer really over? I know yesterday was technically the first day of Fall but it still feels pretty summery around here. Actually, it finally feels what I dream summer will feel like but rarely does here in good old swampy Virginia. A typical summertime day around here involves an oppressive haze of thick soupy humidity laden air sitting on top of ridiculously elevated temperatures. But yesterday and today, the first two days of Fall, feel pretty idyllically summery. Hmmm…. Well, before the temperature actually does fall around here, let me get in one more summer time taste treat…Key Lime Sparkler Cookies.


There is a burst of refreshing lime flavor in every single bite of these light and tender tea cookies. Quite similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes, these little buttery cookies pack quite a mouth-puckering tart punch followed by a sweet shower of sugar. Sweet & Sour – what a divine flavor combination!


Now there are a few ingredients involved here that may give you some pause. Don’t fret, there is an easy work around for most of them. The first thing you may ask is – do I really need to use Key Limes or can I use regular old limes. Most of the limes you find in the local grocery store are Persian Limes or Mexican Limes. They are a good deal bigger than a Key Lime. However, Key Limes are known for their aromatic and much more…well…limey taste.They are more intense in flavor than your ordinary lime. That being said, they are also much more expensive and filled with many more seeds, making them a bit more difficult to work with. Truth be told, I resorted to a bottle of Key Lime Juice, which I keep handy for a certain cocktail that we love. However, if you don’t have access to Key Limes, or bottled Key Lime Juice, using regular limes in this recipe will be just fine. The second ingredient that you might find odd is Lime Oil. I do have a link for where you can purchase lime oil at the bottom of the post. It is a great thing to have on hand especially if you love that zingy lime flavor. However, you can just use the zest from one or two limes in a pinch. Again, it won’t give you as intense a lime flavor, but it will still be quite tasty. Rounding out the trio of strange ingredients here is the Citric Acid or Sour Salt. Citric Acid is found naturally in citrus fruits and is widely used as a flavoring agent and is often used in canning. Again, you can just leave this out, but know that you will be sacrificing a bit of that blast of lime flavor. I do have a link for purchasing it online, but many stores that have canning supplies also sell Sour Salt. I think I have seen it in Target as well as Walmart.


Once you’ve assembled all your ingredients, these cookies come together easy peasy. So light, so buttery and tender and wow what a citrus punch! Perfect with a cup of tea or a gin & tonic – to each his own. And although I find lime to be a particularly summery flavor, I’m a big fan anytime of year. These cookies would also be delightful for Christmas. (Maybe replace that white sanding sugar with red or green for a festive holiday look.) But whatever you do, if you are a lime fan at all, plan to make up a batch of these amazing little gems!


Key Lime Sparkler Cookies

  • Servings: 60 - 62 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour


For the Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Key Lime Juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon lime oil (don’t have lime oil? Use the zest of one lime instead)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid)* OR 1/2 teaspoon Tart & Sour Flavor ( I like that limey flavor – so I used 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. of Citric Acid)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

For the Coating:

  • 1/8 teaspoon sour salt (citric acid*) – ( I used 1/4 teaspoon Citric Acid)
  • 1 cup glazing sugar or confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white edible glitter (optional) – if you don’t have edible glitter you could also try sparkling white sanding sugar.


In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder till well blended. Beat in the lime juice, lime oil, sour salt (citric acid), and the egg. Blend in the flour thoroughly.

Roll the dough into 1″ balls (I used a teaspoon cookie scoop), and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies in the top third of a preheated 350°F oven for 14 to 16 minutes, until the cookies are browned on the bottom. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a rack.

Mix together the sugar coating ingredients in a pan or bag (a simple brown paper lunch sack works great here!). Gently shake and roll the still slightly warm cookies in the sugar till coated. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then repeat, coating again with the sugar. (If you’re freezing the cookies, you may choose to recoat the cookies in sugar once they’ve been removed from the freezer, before serving.)

*Sour salt (citric acid) is what gives the cookies their sour bite—if you want less tang, use just a pinch. Or if you are a limey fan, add a bit more!  I actually used 1/4 teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoon of citric acid in the cookies – which is 3x what this recipe calls for, as well as 1/4 teaspoons citric acid in the coating – doubled the recommended amount- and I thought my cookies had that perfect zing!


Key Lime Sparkler Cookies brought to you by: Runcible Eats(

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Key Lime Sparkler Cookies:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice

lime oil – Here is a link for a 3 pack of lime, lemon & orange oil or you can purchase a single bottle of the lime oil here.

White Edible Glitter – or White Sparkling Sugar

Citric Acid

Small Cookie Scoop (2 3/4 – 2 tsp. /#100) or King Arthur Flour has this one.

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