Salty Lime Sablés (Margarita Cookies)


Sometimes things turn out even better than you could’ve imagined. This is one of them.

My Twitter #LetsLunch bunch was fun from the start — author and blogger Cheryl Tan (A Tiger in the Kitchen) and I decided to start posting monthly recipes for a transatlantic “lunch” three years ago when we discovered that we had a mutual and very big love for bacon — and its only gotten more so as our little group has grown.

And grown closer, too. Cheryl and the gang collectively decided to surprise me and celebrate the release of my new cookbook with cross-cultural themed lunch. Today, everyone’s posting their interpretation of a dish that’s a culinary combo platter of two different places, which is what I often find myself making in Paris when I’m craving food from home (or now, when I’m in Texas, craving French food…hey, it happens).

In my book, I call this Franco-Texan mashup “Cowgirlified Frenchy.” Like this little cookie. (Or biscuit, depending on where you are.)

I mean, who would’ve thought lime and salt would be so good? Oh, riiiight. The margarita already knew about this…and a long time ago.

Truth is I had the margarita in mind (as I often do) when I made these, and I wasn’t sure how to get the tequila in there. So I just drank shots while I was making them.

What? You don’t do tequila shots when you bake? Really?

Good thing about these (besides the lime and salt) is the huge amount of butter involved. They are essentially a butter cookie, or what we like to call sablé (sah-bley) in France…because it sounds so much more elegant than shortbread. (How clunky is that word? Short. Bread.) But that’s really what this is but for now I’m calling it a sablé, which means “sandy” in French, because look at these…they are sandy in texture. You can see that.

And when you make them (and trust me, you will), the dough itself will look like a pile of sand as you form your two little slice and bake logs. It will come together. Do not despair. And whatever you do, do not rush the dough-chilling part. Let the dough hang out and come together as one, like you do with pie dough.

While you’re waiting, I know just what you can do.

#Let’sLunch people, please raise your glasses. *clink* Thank you, everyone. What a sweet welcome home.

Here’s what the rest of the #letslunch gang has cooked up:

Cheryl’s Goan Pork Curry Tacos at A Tiger in the Kitchen

Cathy’s Bacon Studded Polenta with Tomato Gravy at ShowFoodChef

Leigh’s Venezuelan-Italian Cachapas con Queso at Leigh Nannini

Karen’s Ukranian-German Cabbage Rolls at GeoFooding

Felicia’s Mexican-Lebanese Hummus at Burnt-Out Baker

Linda’s Edible Salad Totes at Free Range Cookies

Charissa’s Gluten-Free Azuki Bundt Bean Cake at Zest Bakery

Anastasia’s Miso Salmon with Mango Salsa at In Foodie Fashion

Patricia’s Buttery Tofu, Pasta & Peas at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook

Patrick’s Kimchi Jigae and British Mash at Patrick G. Lee

Maria’s Spanish Shrimp with Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Grits at Maria’s Good Things

Emma’s Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos at Dreaming of Pots and Pans

Grace’s Taiwanese Fried Chicken at HapaMama

Jill’s Southern Pimento-Stuffed Knishes at Eating My Words

Joe’s Grilled KimCheese Sandwich at Joe Yonan

Linda’s Project Runway Pelau: Rice & Beans Trinidad-Style at Spicebox Travels

Linda’s Sunday Night Jewish-Chinese Brisket at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Lucy’s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango at A Cook And Her Books

Nancie’s Chili-Cheese Biscuits with Avocado Butter at Nancie McDermott

Rashda’s Mango Cobbler at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Renee’s Asian-Spiced Quick Pickles at My Kitchen And I

Steff’s Chicken Fried Steak at The Kitchen Trials

Vivian’s Funky Fusion Linguini at Vivian Pei

Salty Lime Sablés (Margarita Cookies)

Makes about 2 dozen

  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • the zest of 2 large limes
  • 1 ½ cups/190 grams of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 stick/125 grams of butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • fleur de sel


1. Put both of your sugars and the lime zest in a small bowl and rub the zest into the sugars until it’s completely incorporated. (This way, the oils rom the lime skin will perfume all of the sugar and give the cookies a deeper limey flavor.)

2. Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.

3. In your mixer, beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy; then add the sugars and vanilla and mix well. Add your flour mixture, and combine only until combined. It’ll be crumbly, but don’t worry. It’s supposed to be this way. 

4. Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a 12-inch/31 cm log — I usually roll mine to to be about 2-inches/5 cm in diameter. Wrap them in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge for an hour, or until firm.

4. To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375° F/190°C and line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice cookies into pieces 1/2-inch/12 mm thick, and put them on the baking sheets, leaving about 1-inch/2.5 cm between each cookie. Lightly dust each cookie with fleur de sel. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the cookies begin to brown slightly. Let the cookies cool right on the pan, and try to wait until they’re completely cool before eating them. Hahaha. Try. But they are better once they’ve cooled. Or do like I do, and eat them still-warm…and cool.