Desserts,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

Margarita Bars

This post has been compensated as part of my ongoing partnership with Barlean’s and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me creative in my tiny kitchen!

Take traditional lemon bars to the next level with the addition of fresh lime and orange, plus a salty-sweet garnish. Shot of tequila optional, but encouraged!

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I feel like I blinked and February was g-o-n-e.

Between travel, sick days, and school cancelations due to this crazy winter weather, it’s no wonder I feel like my productivity has plummeted over the last few weeks.

Sometimes you just need a little extra TLC, and these Margarita Bars are the perfect way to show yourself a little love.

Overhead view of a stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, and fresh citrus.

My family loves lemon bars, and I thought it would be fun to try to create a spin on them inspired by one of my favorite cocktails – the margarita.

My husband makes a killer margarita, and he’s been doing this salt/sugar mix with lime zest added in around the rim of the glass lately.

I decided to take that idea up a notch and make a mix that includes lime, lemon, and orange.

Overhead view of mixing bowls and a juicer with fresh oranges, lemons, and limes.

Now just to be clear, there is no tequila in these bars, but they go great with a shot alongside.

Especially one rimmed with that salty-sweet citrus mix.

A round cutting board with fresh citrus and a spoon and jar full of a citrus zest, salt, and sugar mixture.

These bars include a healthy dose of citrus. When I was preparing the recipe, I zested a full lime, lemon, and orange, placing half of the zest from each into the bar mixture and half into a bowl of sugar and salt.

I sprinkled a bit of the mixture on top of the bars after they cooled off, and saved the rest in a jar for future happy hours.

A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

The other thing that makes these bars different is the use of one of my favorite buttery, non-butter products – the Butter Flavored Coconut Oil from Barlean’s.

I’ve talked about this deliciousness before – not only is it great for making popcorn that will rival that of any movie theater, but it can be used as a 1:1 substitution for butter in all recipes up to 375°F.

I set out to put that substitution to the test by completely swapping out the butter in the shortbread crust for these bars and it totally worked!

Overhead view of sliced dessert bars on a cutting board.

After the margarita bars set, you can cut them into 9 squares. Note that I have never been much of an even bar cutter.

I figure the variety of sizes makes it obvious that it’s homemade, and gives you the option to have a piece that’s a little larger or a little smaller without feeling like you have to eat two of them.

If you’re making these for a party, you can also cut them into smaller rectangles to make them beautifully bite-sized.

Perfect alongside a shot of your favorite tequila for a sensational springtime dessert!

A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

What do you love more – dessert time or cocktail time? Any other classic cocktails you’d like to see desert-ified? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

2 photos - one overhead view of a dessert bar with a shot of tequila and fresh citrus and one of the bars on a cutting board.
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A stack of dessert bars with a shot of tequila, fresh citrus, and a jar of butter flavored coconut oil.

Margarita Bars

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Joy the Baker)
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 Bars
  • Category: Dessert, Bars
  • Method: Baking

Description

Take traditional lemon bars to the next level with the addition of fresh lime and orange, plus a salty-sweet garnish. Shot of tequila optional, but encouraged!


Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 cup butter flavored coconut oil, softened to room temperature, plus more to grease the pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Topping:

  • 2 large eggs3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Zest of 1 lime, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • Zest of 1 orange, plus 1 tablespoon juice
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

To Serve (Optional):

  • Tequila

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8×8-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper (so that it over hangs slightly from the pan) and grease the parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. For the Crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter flavored coconut oil and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour and salt and beat on low speed until it’s incorporated into the dough.
  3. Dump the crust into the prepared pan and use your fingertips to press the dough into the bottom of the pan, spreading it around in an even layer and and making sure you get it into all of the corners. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just browned around the edges.
  4. While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and 3/4 cup of sugar until well combined and slightly thick.  Add the flour, half of the lime, lemon, and orange zest, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Whisk until blended.
  5. Carefully pour the filling over the still warm baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and no longer jiggling in the center.
  6. While the bars are baking, combine the remaining lime, lemon, & orange zest with 2 tablespoons salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Use the over hanging parchment paper to lift the margarita bars out of the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 9 squares. Sprinkle a line of the salt/sugar mixture diagonally across each bar.
  8. Serve the bars with a shot of your favorite tequila alongside, if desired, rimming the shot glass with the sugar-salt-zest mixture.

Notes

To store the bars, place in an airtight container separating each layer with wax paper. Store the remaining sugar-salt-zest mixture in an airtight container, and use it to rim your favorite cocktails.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.

Note: This post includes affiliate links for items that I genuinely enjoy. Big Flavors will receive a tiny commission from purchases made through affiliate links on this site at no added cost to you. This allows us to cover site-related expenses and helps to keep us cooking up a storm!

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