I must admit I have a slight (ok, serious) weakness for fruity frozen drinks when hot weather hits. From mango daiquiris to piña coladas with nifty mini umbrellas tucked inside, I adore them all. But margaritas, especially strawberry margaritas, are my absolute favorite. The tart lime and sweet berry combo are the perfect complement to tequila and a salted rim.
My strawberry margarita cheesecake bars are a refreshing twist on the theme. I loved experimenting in the kitchen with these flavors, though I may have had a bit too much tequila during taste-testing! Make these this summer (or even in the winter) when you need a mental vacay to a beach on Los Cabos complete with sun and fun.
Add a little flour to your fingers to break apart the sugar cookie dough. Evenly press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
While the cookie crust is cooling, add room temperature cream cheese and sugar to a medium-size bowl and beat together using a hand mixer on medium to high speeduntil the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time on medium speed, making sure they’re combined well. Next, add strawberry tequila mix, tequila, orange juice or liqueur, vanilla extract (optional), lime zest (optional) and cornstarch and beat until smooth.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the cooled crust and spread using a spatula until nice and even.
Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes or until the sides of the cheesecake are firmly set but the middle jiggles slightly. Begin checking the texture at 35 minutes.
Remove the pan and cool the bars in the pan on a cooling rack for about 2 hours. The bars should be completely cooled before refrigerating. Refrigerate the bars overnight for best results or at least 5 hours before serving. Cut the bars using a warm knife.