Shortbread Cookies with Lime Cream Cheese Icing

A hint of lime in the dough and the cream cheese frosting  give a sweet and tart flavour to these Shortbread Cookies with Lime Cream Cheese Icing. They  are sometimes called Meltaways because the dough is so tender the cookies melt in your mouth.  

The original recipe for these are called Key Lime Meltaways.  Key limes are not always (or often, for that matter)  available in Canada so I use regular limes.  I am not sure what the difference would be but I can attest to the fact that they are fantastic with regular limes.

So.. if you are lucky enough to be able to access key limes go for it but don’t be deterred if you have to use just regular limes.

The dough for these cookies is rather crumbly so you are going to refrigerate the dough for about an hour.  Then when you scoop out some of the cold dough your hands will have to warm it a bit for it to become a ball you can press your thumb into on the cookie sheet.

Your thumbprint will become the repository for a good dollop of the lime cream cheese icing.

These are not necessarily Christmas cookies but they are so good I include them in my Christmas baking.  Truth be told -that is about the only time I bake cookies so if I’m going to have them it’s going to be at Christmas.

I think the lime zest with its pretty green qualifies them for addition to the platter of Christmas cookies!

Shortbread with Lime Cream Cheese Icing

Shortbread Cookies with Lime Cream Cheese

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies



  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (key lime if you can find it)
  • zest of one lime or 3 key limes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • more lime zest for garnish optional



  • Beat icing sugar and butter until creamy.
  • Beat in the lime and zest.
  • Sift the flour and cornstarch and salt together. Beat in to the butter mixture until uniformly mixed.
  • Chill the dough one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread out your oven racks to top and bottom thirds. Prepare a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  • Remove dough from the fridge. Take about a 1/2 Tbsp of dough and form it into a ball. The dough is very stiff and somewhat prone to crumbling but the ball will come together from the heat of your hand as you roll it.
  • Place the ball on the cookie sheet, flatten slightly and press our thumb into the center of the dough to make an indentation. Repeat till all the dough has been formed into cookies.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes. Rotate your baking sheets halfway through. The cookies will not spread or brown.
  • When cookies are done remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely before icing.


  • Beat cream cheese and butter until well mixed. Add the sugar and lime juice and beat until uniformly mixed.
  • You can either drop a dollop of the frosting into the indentation of the cookie or pipe a dollop with a pastry bag.
  • Decorate with more zest if using.
  • Store well sealed in a cool, dry place. They will keep for about 2 weeks that way. Freeze if you plan to keep them longer.



Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g
Shortbread Cookies with Lime Cream Cheese Icing

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