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.