There are three ingredients that make a margarita: tequila, lime, and salt. Simple enough to turn into a cookie, right? Well...sorta, but I had to tinker with this recipe as I went along. It took a little more time than usual for me--and a few trips to the liquor store--but I have to admit that the final cookies came out great and tasted just perfectly margarita-y.
When I make citrus-based cookies, I usually use a combination of zest, juice, and extract to really punch up the flavor. But I knew I was going to use a lot of tequila in the wet ingredients and needed the tequila flavor to shine. Lots of lime zest and just a small amount of lime juice would do the trick, I thought, without adding too much liquid to the recipe.
When I tried a bit of the dough, though, the the amount of lime was fine, but the tequila flavor wasn't as strong as I wanted. I thought about starting over and upping the amount of tequila in the wet ingredients, but I was afraid that would give me a really wet dough that produced cookies that spread out too much in the oven and that came out flat and crispy, which wasn't what I was looking for. I decided to move forward with my dough and figure out what to do about the tequila later.
My plan was to salt the dough balls before I baked them, but I forgot that step. (Oops!) And the cookies came out of the oven a little more rounded than I wanted. So I smooshed them slightly with my hand to flatten them out a bit. And then it came to me: top the cooled cookies with a tequila-infused icing and then sprinkle them with salt. This trick would up the tequila flavor and give me a second chance to top the cookies with salt. Eureka!
The key to achieving the margarita flavor is the icing and the sprinkle of sea salt. The icing gives you the sweetness and the raw tequila flavor you expect in a drinkable margarita. The salt balances the sweetness and ties the lime and tequila together perfectly.
I used sea salt to top my cookies, but I'm sure kosher salt would work just as well. If you don't have either on hand, give regular old table salt a try--whatever salt you'd use to rim a margarita glass. Put some plastic wrap or wax paper under the cooling racks before you ice the cookies. This will make cleanup a lot easier.
There's a good amount of tequila in these cookies, so you might want to avoid operating heavy machinery after having a few.
Makes 2 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Margarita Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk|
1/2 cup tequila
3 tablespoons lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
|2 1/2 cups finely ground oatmeal|
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
|1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar|
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons tequila
sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350º.
In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
Add the combined wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Shape dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Smoosh the cookies slightly to flatten them a bit.Then place cookies on wire racks to cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, whisk together the icing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Using a fork or a whisk, drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies.
- Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of the wet icing.
- To get the icing to set quickly, place the cookies in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.