Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lychees for Liney

My friend Liney has been studying for the Florida Bar Exam, and you can tell by her blog that she's going a little batty. Who couldn't use a care package at a time like that?

I wanted to make something really unique for her, but my brainstorming wasn't getting me anywhere. I began to dig around in my pantry, where I found a bag of dried lychees from Trader Joe's. I've eaten some before, but I wasn't thrilled by them... they tasted like floral jerky, not the best snack on their own.

When I found these lychees, I knew I had to use them for Liney. During college, we would eat lychees all the time. OK, eating may be a strong word... we were usually more concerned with the juice that came in the lychee can and how much of this juice to add to vodka for a nice martini. But lychees were a favorite nonetheless.

I had trouble coming up with a recipe to utilize the lychees. This isn't an ingredient you see very often, so I had to adapt a different recipe instead. Working on the summery, fruity taste, I opted for a lime sugar cookie.

Yes, the butter really was bright green after adding all the lime zest. This recipe was very simple, and mixing the dough only took a few minutes. The kitchen smelled fabulous from all the citrus.

One thing I wasn't confident about, though, was how the lychees would react in the oven. It was possible that they would get too chewy, or the flavor could turn into something gross. I hedged my bets and only added lychees to half. In the recipe below, I listed enough lychees for the entire batch.

These cookies are crispy, fruity, and pack a powerful flavor punch. Keep them small, as a big cookie might be a little overwhelming.

Lime and Lychee Crisps

1 cup sugar
zest and juice of 5 limes
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
15 dried lychees, finely chopped and tossed with a pinch of flour

In a stand mixer, mix sugar and lime zest using the paddle attachment until combined. Add butter and mix on medium until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla and lime juice. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder and salt slowly. Add chopped lychees to distribute.

Divide dough in quarters, placing each quarter on a large piece of wax paper. Press dough into a log, using the wax paper to compact. Wrap completely in the wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove only one piece of dough from the freezer at a time. Unwrap from paper and cut slices about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Make sure to move the pan up to the higher rack early so the cookie bottoms don't brown too much. The cookies should remain light in color for better taste. Cool on wire racks.


Muffin said...

Its cool to see someone else using lychee this week! I made lychee and coconut cupcakes this weekend, along with a lychee and lime cocktail. Pretty tasty! I'm gonna try this recipe next. I need to get rid of my left over lychees!

Pam said...

Thanks, Muffin! I'm not sure how this would work with fresh lychees... you might have more luck using less lime juice and adding some of your lychee puree.

Liney said...

YAY!!! I'm so excited (and lucky to have an awesome friend like you!). Speaking of lychees - I made lychee martinis like two weeks ago with a some canned ones I found in the local asian market - first time in years. I'm so excited to test these out - I'll have to do a testimonial :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just saw your post for these on chowhound ... I came to your blog to see the photos. I actually posted there yesterday to find a recipe for just lime cookies. Do you think your recipe would still be workable without the lychees? Thanks so much!

Pam said...

Hi Tehama! Yes, these cookies are great if you leave out the lychee. They have a very fresh lime taste.

Anonymous said...

Good morning! Just wanted to tell you how awesome your recipe was. I just made them this morning (sans lychees) and they are incredible. I made them for my lime-freak-friend's birthday, and I know I am going to have trouble giving them up. [Q: I was (a) trying to decide whether to ice them, and (b) do you think I could substitute lime juice for water in a Royal Icing recipe? --- just to further the lime theme]. Thanks again for the recipe, and I hope you are having a great week!

Pam said...

I'm glad they worked so well for you! The original recipe calls for them to be sprinkled with powdered sugar, kind of like those key lime cookies you can buy in Florida.

I'm not great with icing, but I don't see why you couldn't swap out at least some of the water for lime juice. What do you use for an icing recipe?

And luckily, they're easy enough that you can just make a double batch if you need to give some away ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I'm going to stop bugging you now, but I just posted my results back on chowhound, so I thought I would share with you, too. Thanks so much for the recipe. You just made my friend's birthday WAY special. Best wishes to you!