Showing posts with label key lime juice taste test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label key lime juice taste test. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Key Lime Coolers and a Tart Taste Test with Cleo Coyle




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I have a thing for alliteration. No surprise, right? My pen name is Cleo Coyle, and my amateur sleuth-cum-coffeehouse manager is Clare Cosi. So, of course, I’m going to like the sound of Key Lime Coolers...

But guess what?

You don’t have to use Key limes to make these delectable, sweet-tart meltaway cookies. You can bake up this recipe with your standard (American) grocery store limes (aka Persian limes).



Cleo Coyle, alliterating
author of The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
For those of you in the USA, this may beg the question: What's the difference between Key limes and the "everyday" limes I usually buy?

Well, I'll tell you... 

Key limes are smaller, rounder, more aromatic, and have a thinner rind than our more common Persian limes. They're picked green and turn yellowish as they ripen.


The name Key lime comes from the fruit’s association with the Florida Keys, but today most Key limes are cultivated in Mexico. Around the world this variety is more commonly known by other names: the West Indian lime, the Omani lime, the Mexican lime, and the Bartender’s lime. 

What about the taste difference? Is there one?

There should be in theory. The larger, Persian limes were created in 1895 by a California man named Bearss who wanted to develop a seedless lime that was milder than the Key lime, but I never actually sampled them back-to-back. For this blog post, I decided to give it a try.

My husband, Marc, helped me set up a blind taste test with: (1) freshly-squeezed Persian lime juice; (2) bottled Key lime juice; and (3) freshly-squeezed Key lime juice.

How did I do?

I guessed every one correctly --and not because I'm ready to take on Gordon Ramsay. :) I simply knew Key limes were supposed to be more acidic than Persians. I expected the Key lime juice to be more tart and intense. And it was.

The difference was not subtle. The Persian lime juice (1) smelled and tasted almost sweet. I could easily sip the juice without...well, gagging.

On the other hand, the freshly-squeezed Key lime juice (3) was so acidic that I had a hard time sampling it straight. Clearly, the Key limes bring a much bigger punch to any flavoring party.

The bottled Key lime juice (2) was easy to identify, as well, but not for a good reason. Like most bottled juices, it tasted more sour than bright. In the past, for convenience, I have used bottled juices, but after this taste test, I’m going to try harder to use fresh-squeezed whenever possible. When you sample them back-to-back, there really is no comparison.

As for the recipe I'm sharing with you today, I made batches of these cookies using each type of juice tested above, and all three worked just fine. Key limes will give you a more intense lime flavor, but Persian limes work, too. The only advice I can give you is to use fresh-squeezed juice if you can. You’ll get much better flavor that way, and you know I always want you to eat with joy. :) 

~ Cleo




Cleo Coyle’s
Key Lime Coolers


To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here




Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon Key lime zest* (see my note)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Key lime juice* (see my note)

For sugar-dusting:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons Key lime zest* (see my note)

*Note: As mentioned above, if you can’t find Key limes, simply substitute the more common (Persian) limes for this recipe. The tart flavor will be less intense, but the cookies will still taste delicious.

Warning: Lime juice may curdle your butter so follow this recipe's directions. Do not add the lime juice to the dough until the end of the mixing process.

Directions: First preheat your oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Blend in the vanilla extract, salt, and lime zest.



Add the flour and baking powder, and mix very briefly until a shaggy dough forms.


Now add your lime juice and mix until a smooth dough comes together, but do not over-mix or your cookies will be tough instead of tender.




Roll the dough into balls about one inch in diameter.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. cookies are done when bottoms are slightly browned. Note that cookies are fragile while warm, so handle with care.

To finish, mix ½ cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 teaspoons lime zest in a shallow bowl. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them, one at a time, in the bowl of sugar and lime zest.



After all the cookies are coated, finish by sprinkling any remaining sugar-lime mixture over the cookie tops.


Store cooled cookies in an airtight plastic container. They also freeze extremely well. I store my extras in freezer-safe re-sealable plastic bags. On a hot day, these babies truly do live up to their “cooler” name. So…
 



Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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