Light, bright, and perfectly citrusy, these cocktail-inspired Gluten-Free Margarita Bars are the perfect summertime treat!
I don’t know about you, but I’m hanging on to every last ounce of summer that I can.
While a very little part of me is excited for big comfy sweaters, beautiful fall leaves, and pumpkin spice everything, I’m just NOT ready to see my favorite season go. I’ve been spending EVERY spare moment I can at the pool or sharing drinks with friends at rooftop bars, trying to soak in every last ray of summertime sun and fun.
In fact, some might say I’ve been a bit summer OBSESSIVE as of late – from baking the most tropical desserts possible (helloooo beautiful margarita bars!) to making pineapple mojitos almost non-stop and wearing my bikini around the apartment just for fun. (Yes, it’s happened).
I must say, as far as summery desserts go, these Margarita Bars are IT. End of story.
They’re bright and citrusy, cool and refreshing, and they even contain BOOZE (don’t worry, the alcohol gets baked off so these are kid friendly, too!). Basically, a cocktail in chewable form. You just can’t.beat.that.
Sure, lemon bars can satisfy those summertime light citrusy dessert cravings, but these margarita bars are on a whooooole different level. They’re not just adequate for summer, they were made for summer. Because:
1) they are LIME and not lemon, and while I might be lemon’s #1 fan girl, everyone knows that lime trumps lemon every time. Lime:Lemon::Rock:Scissors [ ← now THAT’s my kind of SAT question.]
2) 99%* of all popular cocktails were invented in tropical places. And these beautiful little margarita bars are made with tequila AND triple sec, which puts them firmly in the cocktail category, and therefore, tropical as well.
*completely made up statistic. But, if you are bored, wiki your favorite cocktails. I bet most of ‘em were invented in the tropics.
While many citrusy bars go either the graham cracker crust route or the shortbread crust route, I wasn’t really happy with either of those options when I was dreaming up these boozy bars.
I was looking for a little more of a substantial mouthfeel than shortbread could provide — you know, a little texture and crunch — but something a little lighter and brighter than a rich graham cracker crust.
Enter beautiful gluten-free vanilla wafers of yester-week. PERFECTION. All of the crispy crunch factor of a graham cracker crunch, with the lightness of shortbread.
Never thought I’d say this, but: move over grahams. You’ve got some SERIOUS competition in the crust category. (Anyone else’s wheels spinning like crazy over all of the vanilla wafer crust possibilities?!?)
So while it may officially be September, you can find me (in complete denial) at the pool in my bikini, blasting some Reggae music and chomping on a margarita bar …or 5.
LONG LIVE SUMMER!
- 20 gluten-free vanilla wafers (1 ½ cups, crushed)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon tequila
- 1 Tablespoon triple sec
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse gluten-free vanilla wafers until they are fine crumbs.
- In a small bowl, combine crushed vanilla wafers, ¼ cup sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the 8x8 baking pan, covering the entire bottom evenly.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the crust to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, lime zest, sugar, beaten eggs, tequila,and triple sec.
- In another smaller bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add to the lime mixture, stirring well.
- Evenly pour the lime filling over the cooled crust, and then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the bars from the oven, and let them cool to room temperature. Dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares and enjoy!
- If making these ahead or storing leftovers, keep them covered in the refrigerator.