Not only are these cookies bursting with delight, but this notion as I await what the Christian world calls "Holy Week" or "Passion Week" is as well. As my girls took their nap today, I was folding laundry listening to the song, 'O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.' One of the lines says, "How he loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore...how for them he intercedeth." I was struck by how great his love is for me. When I was a little girl I would stand up on mall benches and sing "Jesus Loves Me." When people would ask me why I believed in Jesus, I would respond with, "why wouldn't I (this at a very young age)."
I think it's because I was drawn to Jesus' incredible love. I knew he was good. But not just good as in the superhero fighting the villain good...it was much deeper than that.
And as my oldest is three understanding more concepts, listening to all the stories we tell her, taking initiative in conversations & thoughtfulness, I'm seeing how at such a young age--Jesus makes sense. I was reading to her some Bible stories, very simplistic in nature, and it came to the part where Jesus was being crucified (like I said, it was simplistic, not the Passion in full swing) where she had a sadness in her eye. I could identify with that sadness and conjure it up from when I was her age.
Because I, like her, could see why it was so sad. It was sad & lonely, because this person who was so incredibly good & just was being robbed of life.
But the part in which I burst forth, as did she, was when we soon realized that wasn't the end of the story. Jesus overcame death, bursting forth from the tomb--leaving it empty.
I could see the shadow of sadness quickly being replaced with joy & hope in my three year old's eyes. And as I saw in this child illustrated Bible, feet on a cross, my eyes got misty connecting with the same mourning my daughter was feeling. But, unlike watching a fake romance movie Hollywood has portrayed with hope deferred & hope renewed--this is such a better love story.
This is a love story even a three year old understands to be true & wholeheartedly genuine.
And even though we rarely think about feasting upon cookies during this season of Lent (most people giving them up), I do offer you a burst of delight upon your senses. I made these cookies for my mom getaway a couple weeks back and I find they have a wonderful marriage with sour, freshness of the lime, the creamy depth of the cream cheese, the buttery, saltiness of the caramel and the crunch & melding of it all with the macadamia nuts. I like how the flavors blend, some pack more of a punch, while others leave a nice undertone on in your mouth.
I find these cookies awaken the senses. So as you might read the Passion story for the first time or the 70th time, notice how much of the story deals with smell, touch, taste, sight, & sound. How Jesus reached us with our senses. How the Lenten season is typically about denying the senses; yet, as Jesus burst forth from the tomb on Easter morning--we burst forth in celebration with him to feast in a hope no longer deferred.
Macadamia Nut & Lime Shortbread Cookies with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting (printable recipe)
I used my Orange Cardamom Cookies as the base for these Lime-Cream Cheese-Macadamia Nut-Caramel Cookies.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, measure out 1/4 cup and finely chop it up
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lime for juice
Cream Cheese-Caramel Icing
1/3 - 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup homemade caramel sauce (or store bought)
splash of lime oil essence (or extract)
2 teaspoons lime zest
Whisk together flour, zest, 3 Tb. finely ground macadamia nuts, and salt.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Put the dough on parchment paper.
Mound the dough together and roll into a log. Once you get a basic log shape, position the dough in the middle of the parchment. Then, take the parchment that’s north of the dough and cover it over the dough. Take a bench scraper and push the edge of it at the base of the parchment covered dough, trying to make a concentric log. Roll the log so the parchment covers the whole thing and twist the edges. Refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight (if you want to speed the process, then place in freezer for about 30 minutes to 1 hour).
Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Remove firm dough. Unroll the parchment so the dough is still sitting on top of the paper. Place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 1/8 inch. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.
Bake until edges are golden-brown, 12-15 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, slice the zested lime in half and squeeze the juice over the cookies. The cookies will absorb the juice and give the cookies that great lime kick. Cool on baking sheet and arrange with below directions.
Put the whipped cream cheese in a small bowl and add 1 Tb of caramel sauce at a time. Mixing to get a balance of caramel & cream cheese. Then add some lime essence, just a splash. You want to have a balance of the flavors. Not too much of the lime, but enough to have it stand out.
Putting them together:
With a spoon, put about 1/2 teaspoon icing on each cookie & swirl around. Drizzle caramel over the cookies with a fork or spoon. Sprinkle with remaining chopped macadamia nut & lime zest.