Holy Lime Treats, Martha!- Lime Meltaways- 9 eggs, 4-1/4 cups of sugar, 4 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 3 cups of flour used so far- 170 recipes to go!

March 13, 2010

André's Lime Meltaways

Martha's Lime Meltaways

As I’ve mentioned before, Martha has her Cookie Book divided into sections based on texture. The shortbread and today’s cookie, Lime Meltaways, are both from the section titled, Crumbly and Sandy.  This title reminds me of the old adage-That’s how the cookie crumbles. I hate that adage. It is usually uttered by someone in response to another’s personal misfortune, much like the  more contemporary adage- You snooze, you lose. No one benefits from hearing these during tough times. It doesn’t make anyone feel better.

Honestly, imagine it. You’ve just decided to end a twelve-year marriage. You’re sad, angry, and distraught. You go to your best friend for comfort and counseling and your friend turns to you with sympathetic eyes and says, “Well, I know this is hard right now, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

I am not a big fan of homicide, but if I sat on a jury and heard that the victim had used this adage to comfort a suffering friend, I’d side with the defendant.

I should probably start talking about cookies now.

I delivered the Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread to my friend, who I will refer to as Baroness Von Shortbread. She works upon a hill not far from my house.  I dropped them off with a note to contact me with her review.

She wrote:

“Thanks for giving me the job of tasting my favorite kind of cookie! I owe you, big!
The look, smell and texture is definitely classic shortbread. Really great on all levels. The citrus flavor is a bit strong for my taste, especially the aftertaste. I love the look of the unexpected citrus confetti in the cookie.
Reduce the citrus…and you have a solid winner in my opinion.”

The Baroness has spoken. I happen to agree with her about the citrus aftertaste. Orange zest smells terrific but when tasted, it has a bitterness that lingers. I am not saying that you would want to spit out the cookie in disgust. You wouldn’t. It’s a delicious cookie, but the bitter orange does linger on the palate, and not in a good way.

Thanks, Baroness, for your candid feedback and know you will be called upon again when shortbread is on the menu.

This talk of citrusy aftertaste is the perfect segue to chat a bit about today’s cookie, Lime Meltaways.

This is a damn, good cookie. I’ve made it before and I’ll make it again. They remind me of one of my favorite cookies from childhood. Ever had  Lemon Coolers made by Nabisco? I am sure they consist of nothing but shortening, flour, lemon flavoring, and powdered sugar, but they are deeee-licious!

I haven’t bought a boxed cookie in years. It’s against my cookie code of ethics. But I certainly would never refuse a box of  these little, powdery treats.

Lime Meltaways are quite simple. They are essentially another shortbread cookie with added sweetness. 1 1/2 sticks of room temperature butter are combined with 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and whipped together until fluffy and light. Add the zest of two limes, 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract and 2 Tbsps of fresh lime juice. Combine these and whip again into a fluffy and fragrant mass.  Sift together 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp of cornstarch, and 1/8 tsp of salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until it forms a dough.

I have to confess that I did not have any cornstarch in the cupboard so I left it out. I couldn’t think what difference 2 Tbsp of cornstarch would make to this recipe. It’s not adding flavor. It might help act as a binder of the ingredients, but they held together just fine.

I feel guilty, though. I sense there are consequences for not following Martha’s directions; kind of like in the story Peter Pan when a fairy dies each time a child says they don’t believe in fairies, I imagine an assistant at one of Martha’s offices grabs her chest and falls gracefully onto the taupe, berber-carpeted, office floor each time I stray from a recipe. Maybe I’ll get a note from the assistant’s family that woefully reads, “WHY!? WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE JUST RUN TO THE STORE FOR CORNSTARCH?”

I’ll let you know if anything comes in mail.

Divide the dough in half and roll into logs  1 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap them in parchment paper (which I have begun to reuse- honestly, why should the trees suffer?) and place them in the fridge to firm up. About 1 hour should do it.

Remove from the fridge and slice into 1/4 inch discs and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Maybe I should start abbreviating parchment paper like Rachel Ray does with E.V.O.O.?

On second thought, placing the discs on a cookie sheet covered in P.P. doesn’t sound very sanitary.  Plus, I live in the Midwest surrounded by a lot of literalists, and I could just see this ending badly.

Bake the discs for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and rotate the pans once during the baking.

They should be lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool, but not completely. While they are still warm, place them in a bag with a cup of powdered sugar and give them a few gentle shakes to coat them.

These little cookies are called Meltaways because you can place them on your tongue and let them simply melt away. These were the same instructions I received in Second Grade from Sister Barbara at St. Thomas Moore, as to how one receives the host at communion.

Most first communions happen when the child is around seven-years of age. Transubstantiation (The transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ)  is a pretty heavy concept to lay on small kids. I remember seeing the older congregation of our church receive the eucharist during mass and thinking the host looked like a slice of onion.  From the faces people would make after having it placed on their tongues, I was convinced that they were being forced to eat sliced onions.  I hated onions and wanted no part of it. My mom explained that it was not onions, but Jesus they were eating. This only worsened my fears.  Why are they eating Jesus? Why does Jesus look like a slice of onion? What if they run out of Jesus? Does his mother, Mary, know about this?

The other scary part of this ritual was the diskos or palat that was placed under your chin while you received communion. You see, Catholics believe that that bread and wine are literally transformed into the body and blood of the holiest of holies. If, say, one crumb of Jesus should fall to the floor, God would be pissed and the church would have to cancel Bingo for a week to pray for forgiveness. To insure this didn’t happen, an altar boy would hold a metal plate on a stick just below your chin while you received communion.

To me, these altar boys were the same bullies who teased me on the playground, now dressed in white robes, swinging what looked like axes under the chins of my family and friends while they were being force-fed Jesus onions.

It was more than I could bear. There was no way I was going to do that.

Of course, the reason you take first communion as a seven-year-old is that you have no developed sense of free-will.

I eventually walked reluctantly down the aisle with all my classmates. The veiled girls dressed in white and the boys in tiny, scratchy suits. I looked up at the priest while the bully in white swung his axe under my chin. The priest held up the little, white disc and declared,”The Body of Christ.” Although my instinct was to say “Blech!” I responded as I was told, “Amen.” I opened my mouth with my tongue slightly extended to receive the onion of Christ. The priest placed the papery disc on my tongue and I closed my eyes and tasted.

Hmmmmm. Bland and slightly salty.

As I held it on my tongue it simply melted away.

Not bad.

Needs lime.

5 Responses to “Holy Lime Treats, Martha!- Lime Meltaways- 9 eggs, 4-1/4 cups of sugar, 4 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 3 cups of flour used so far- 170 recipes to go!”

  1. Sarah Mueller Says:

    Andre, this blog has made my day. Possibly my week. Maybe even my month. Or, perhaps, my quarter. I’m a sucker for both cookies and spiritual autobiography, so today’s post sent me into some serious Saturday afternoon giddiness. Thank you for writing — and baking!

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I have been having a lot of fun with this. Come back and read more when you can.

  3. jen Says:

    You know a sentence is going to be good when it starts out, “I am not a big fan of homicide, but…” LOL!!!

  4. Connie Says:

    “What if they run out of Jesus?”
    Best line of the week. Or month. Or year.
    I love you, Andre!

  5. Susan Says:

    I just may have to bake this cookie!!

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