Cornmeal Lime Shortbread Fans Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Cornmeal Lime Shortbread Fans Recipe (1)

Total Time
45 minutes, plus cooling
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Buttery and crisp, with an appealing texture from the cornmeal, these shortbread cookies are baked in a round tart or pie tin, then cut into wedges to resemble slim fans. The lime juice in the glaze cuts the sweetness and echoes the zest in the dough. (You can also use lemon, orange or grapefruit — or a combination instead of lime, if you prefer.) The cookies keep for up to two weeks when stored airtight at room temperature, and freeze very well.

Featured in: How to Make the Perfect Cookie Box

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Yield:1 dozen cookies

  • 2limes
  • cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
  • cup/60 grams fine cornmeal
  • cup/130 grams granulated sugar
  • 1teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1cup/225 grams cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

276 calories; 16 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 16 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 155 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cornmeal Lime Shortbread Fans Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grate 1 teaspoon zest from the limes. (You can usually get 1 teaspoon from 1 lime, but you may need to grate some zest off the other.) Add to a food processor.

  2. Step


    Add flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt and pulse once or twice to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess the dough. It should be somewhat crumbly and not form a ball. (Alternatively, you can mix this in a bowl using two knives, or use a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the flour.)

  3. Step


    Press the dough into an even layer in an ungreased, fluted 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or in a 9-inch pie pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 40 to 50 minutes.

  4. Step


    Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Using a butter knife, cut the shortbread into 12 wedges while still warm.

  5. Step


    Make the glaze: Halve the zested lime and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice into a small bowl. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar and, if you like, more lime juice to taste. (More lime juice will make the glaze thinner and more tart, while less lime juice yields a thicker, sweeter glaze.) Drizzle glaze over the cooled shortbread, then zest the second lime over the icing before it sets. (Use a citrus zester, if you have one, or a regular zester, if you don’t.)



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Cooking Notes


From Pooja: Tis the season... for cookies. These are @clarkbar's cornmeal lime shortbread fans but with a few edits: I used cornflour instead of cornmeal and added one egg yolk to give them a more sablé-like texture — sandy and crisp to the bite, tender to the chew.


Just made these cookies. I was careful to not over process the dough. Pricking the dough with a fork disrupted the dough so I used a skewer instead which worked out better. A toothpick might be even better. The cookies have excellent flavor and texture and look lovely as well.


These are easy and delicious. But I couldn’t get the fans out of the pie pan in one piece. Next time I’ll form the dough in a disc on a flat tray and bake with parchment paper.


Yes, a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the tart pan helps the release. The cookies are *very* fragile. Cut them with a table knife after cooling 10 minutes. Applying the glaze while the cookies are still warm/hot makes the glaze translucent, which I think is pretty. The cookies are delish.


If you use a removable bottom tart pan, as I just did, and as the instructions call for, be sure to first put it inside of a baking sheet, else the melting butter will seep out all over your oven floor....

Katherine Gallagher

I used a circle of parchment in a 9” springform pan and got the disk out without any trouble. I used a sharp knife and cut it straight across into into quarters and then into twelfths.


I can't recommend freezing the cookies before cutting enough! I made these twice and the first they crumbled as soon as I got the knife halfway. The second attempt I froze the finished cookies for thirty minutes then let them sit for five and was able to cut them into 16 fans with no issue. If you're having trouble cutting give this a try!


These are not as easy as other short breads I’ve made. When I tried to use a fork to score it the mixture kept sticking to the fork. I ended up using a toothpick and poked fewer holes. I used an 11” tart pan with a removable bottom. I needed a very large knife to get them off the base. Forget using a regular pie pan, you’ll never get them out in one piece. I used good butter and fine polenta, which added a lovely crunch. I would make again using orange instead of lime and ground cardamom.


These were a hit! I've already made two which have disappeared! I did not have a tart pan, so I made the first batch in a glass pie dish and it was very difficult to turn out after cutting. So I hit the internet and found 9" tart pans on sale at JoAnns and picked one up. It cooked much better in the metal tart pan, was easy to remove and the wedges stayed together instead of breaking apart. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet because there was some leakage of butter from the tart pan seam.

Hannah L

These are much thicker than I thought they would be based on the photo. The dough, which was extremely crumbly, filled up my 9 inch pie dish, making the cookie an inch+ deep. I was able to pull the full cookie out of the pie dish because i had put a square piece of parchment paper underneath the dough and used the ends to lift it out.


I think you definitely need a pan with removable sides to make this really work neatly. I'm also not terribly proficient with accurate cutting, so they just didn't look nearly as nice as I'd hoped! They do taste amazing, though. I used Meyer lemons instead of the lime because I'd bought a huge bag at ***co on impulse. Yum!


Excellent recipe though I had a bit of a problem getting it to come together - I ended up just pressing it into a big square, then cutting into square cookies before baking; separating them afterwards. I used orange zest and juice as I had no lime in the house. These cookies are so good they really don't need the icing. I'll be making many more of these cookies for Christmas and the rest of the year.


Definitely should have used corn flour rather than meal. I love the taste of corn (with butter!) so I felt the glaze took away from it. If I make this again I’d use corn flour, parchment, and maybe just some confectioners sugar and zest sprinkled on. I also thought the cornmeal tasted a bit raw, so hoping that would improve with corn flour. All this said, though I won’t give these away, they will get eaten!

Kathryn WS

Baked at altitude in Namibia. Taking the advice of others here, I added an egg yolk for added moisture, pricked with a tooth pick, and sliced with a bread knife 10 minutes after removing from the oven-- delicious!


I added 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, which played off the sweetness perfectly!

Happy Northern VA Cook

Made a quadruple batch for my first time with this recipe. Followed it exactly as written and they turned out perfect! Followed the advice many gave to wait 10 minutes before cutting; worked great. Had zero problems with sticking to the pan or with crumbling - this may be because I used regular, cheap, non-stick, 9" pie tins. Loosened the full circumference of each tin with a butter knife as soon as they came out of the oven; that helped, too. These taste AMAZING. Highly recommend!!


I really liked this recipe. The fans are easy and quick to make, and they taste great. I did as one poster suggested and added and egg. It did indeed make the cookie more sablé-like. I used a 10-inch springform pan lined with parchment, and pressed the cookie to about a 1/2 inch depth. I cut the round into 12 pieces. The icing was fine, but next time I’ll add butter and lime juice to the icing to give it a bigger profile taste-wise and visually.


Read all the community notes and was a bit anxious going into baking these. They came out perfect! I used a removable bottom 9 inch tart pan, ended up using corn flour rather than fine cornmeal. I decided to glaze after a 10 minute cool down, rather than cut first then glaze. The glaze helped keep the top of the cut pieces from being more crumbly. I had no problem cutting with a sharp knife and given how rich they are, was able to cut into 24 fans rather than 12. Flavor + texture is awesome!


I didn’t find these had much taste. Don’t think I would make them again. Adding the glaze did help


Everyone raved about these cookies and requested more!


Made these today. They were tasty but crumbled with every bite man’s resulting in a Cookie Monster mess. I won’t make again.


Used 10” springform pan


These are fabulous and easy. The cornmeal adds a lovely texture and the lime is subtle but tasty.


Delightful! Making more this weekend. I didn’t have any problems with it being too crumbly to cut neatly or needing to add an egg yolk. I mixed by hand by softening the butter first (melt two tablespoons and pour over rest of the stick to soften) then mixing in the rest of the ingredients til well combined and ready to press into the tart pan. Might cut into 16 wedges next time for slightly smaller cookies to be served with a variety.


Love these! Used lemon instead of lime


These are fabulous. I did not add mint.


This was a big miss for us. The glaze was way too much. The cookies were just overly sweet and tart, kind of like eating a bad key lime pie.

Katy N.

Made these 2 years in a row, now. I LOVE shortbread and these are heavenly. I need to start doubling it now, so I can have some left for myself after Christmas is over.


Delicious, and simple. The cornmeal makes the texture more interesting than a traditional shortbread, and lime isn't often a flavour you get in holiday baking collections. Those factors combine to make something that will definitely liven up any holiday cookie spread!

Mary K

I added a half teaspoon of powdered rosemary with the salt. Also, in the processing, I processed enough that the crumbs started stacking an inch or so high on the walls of the bowl and then stopped. It is a really dry pastry, but as the crumbs are compressed into the tart pan, it sticks together pretty well. Also, I used a wet toothpick to make the holes, pulling it out in between fingers pressed together and down on the pastry surface so it didn't flake off.

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Cornmeal Lime Shortbread Fans Recipe (2024)


What does adding cornstarch to shortbread do? ›

A cornstarch shortbread cookie is a shortbread cookie that contains cornstarch along with all-purpose flour in the cookie dough. The cornstarch is used to give these buttery treats a crispy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It also helps prevent the cookies from becoming too crumbly and breaking apart.

Why do you age shortbread? ›

Traditional shortbread cookies need to “age” to develop flavour. In fact, if you try one right after baking, you will discover they have very little flavour.

What are common mistakes when making shortbread? ›

The most common mistakes when making shortbread are over-working the dough, and incorporating too much flour. The less you work the dough, the more crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth your shortbread cookies will be.

What is the secret to good shortbread? ›

Tips To Make the Best Shortbread Cookies
  • Choose High Quality Butter. No matter what brand of butter you buy, if it's real butter, you can rest assured that it's the best. ...
  • Keep Ingredients Simple. ...
  • Add Flavor. ...
  • Don't Overwork. ...
  • Shape Dough. ...
  • Chill Before Baking. ...
  • Bake Until Golden. ...
  • Add Finishing Touches.

What happens if you don't chill shortbread? ›

Step 3: The Secret to the Absolute Best Shortbread

Instead, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so (overnight is OK, too). A short stay in the fridge will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter. This will help keep them from spreading too much.

What happens if you over mix shortbread? ›

It's important to avoid over-mixing shortbread dough, which will develop gluten and make the finished product tough, not tender. To make sure that the flour mixes completely with little effort, sift the flour first to get out all of the lumps.

What's the difference between Scottish shortbread and regular shortbread? ›

As mentioned above, the main differences between the two styles of cookies are butter content and inclusion of leavening agents. These differences result in very different texture and taste experiences. No matter your preference, you can be sure to get a quality product from Walkers Shortbread.

What happens if you add cornstarch to cookies? ›

“The result is added tenderness with more structure.” You don't need much of the ingredient to notice significant changes in your favorite recipe. Add a teaspoon or two to your dry ingredient mix and it will drastically change the texture. It's also fun to experiment until you get the exact finish you desire.

What is the benefit of cornstarch in cookies? ›

“You can count on [it for] a softer and more tender crumb.” “A bonus benefit is it prevents the cookie from spreading too much while baking,” he adds, noting that a more compact, thick cookie typically yields a chewier outcome. But incorporating cornstarch isn't the only tip to make a cookie more palatable.

Why did my shortbread turn out chewy? ›

Check doneness by looking for an even, light brown colour across the top of the biscuits, with slight darkening at the edges. Begin checking at the tail end of the cooking time. Undercooked shortbread will be doughy and chewy. Slightly overcooked and it will become chalky, brittle and hard.

What does cornstarch do in biscuits? ›

The cornstarch lowers the protein of the flour, which produces a more tender biscuit. The heavy cream provides the fat that helps create the flaky layers in great biscuits.

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