Sweet & Spicy Shortbread Cookies
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Test Kitchen Approved Recipe

This simple shortbread thumbprint gets just a kick of heat by adding ground chiles to the jelly that dots the middle of the cookie. Ground lime leaves and rich cream cheese balance out the heat for a unique sweet treat.

3 to 4 dozen

Active Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min


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Use a smooth textured jelly instead of a chunky jam. Substitute other chiles for aji amarillo, such as ancho for mild heat or cayenne for spicier heat.


Stir ground chile into peach jelly until well combined. Whip cream cheese until smooth. Set aside a scant 1/4 cup chile-jelly and fold the rest into whipped cream cheese. Set mixture aside. Rub lime leaves between your fingers until all pieces are ground as small as you can get them. Remove any stray pieces of stems from ground leaves. Set aside. Cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined. Add lime leaves and mix on low until lime leaf pieces are evenly distributed and dough starts to come together. Dough should be smooth but crumbly. If dough is too dry, add cold water 1 tsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly, making an indentation in the middle. Fill indentation with about 1/4 tsp. jelly and cream cheese mixture. Top each filled cookie with about 1/4 tsp. of reserved chile-jelly. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 12 to 15 min. Transfer to wire rack to cool.


If you end up with any leftover jelly and cream cheese mixture, refrigerate it and save to spread on toast or pancakes.

Shannan de Jesus, Savory Spice customer



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