It's Margarita Time! Secret Recipe Club Reveal Goes Caribbean

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Margarita Cheesecake Bars | Taking On Magazines | | Put cheesecake together with the word margarita and one fantastic dessert is born!

You must excuse me while I bask in the glow. I’m sure it’s snowing somewhere; maybe there where you are? It’s not by me. Life is about sunshine and warm breezes here. Sand, gentle surf and, of course, margaritas.

Am I in the Bahamas, you ask. What sandy shore is my lily-white winter body gracing? Actually, none. I’m plopped smack dab in the middle of Keep It Sweet thanks to the Secret Recipe Club.

Yes, Lauren (she’s the one who runs Keep It Sweet) and I are enjoying the sun from under a large umbrella that’s owned by this marvelous club. A place where people like me are given the name of  a different food blog every month. It’s a secret. Lauren didn’t know she’s be joining me until just now. We wander through the person’s blog and look for a dish that speaks to us; then we make it. I love this club.

I spent a long time wandering through Keep It Sweet before I settled here in the tropics. It was hard to decide where to go with all the incredible treats that were there to look at. Even though Lauren focuses on sweets, I’m so, so grateful that there’s a lot more than chocolate offered up.

There were so many mentions of pumpkin (yum), white chocolate (bigger yum) and finally cheesecake (holy cow yum) that I didn’t know what to do. Until I saw the Margarita Cheesecake Bars.

Heaven help me, in the midst of this season of peppermint, gingerbread and chocolate, I wanted a dessert that was light, fresh and whimsical. I wanted summer on a plate. So, I had to head to the tropics so I could have my cake and eat it too.

Care to join me?

The Process

While the oven is heating, combine some crushed lady fingers with vanilla wafers, sugar, salt and melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased baking dish. Once the oven is hot, bake the crust for a few minutes.

Cream the cream cheese until its nice and fluffy, then add sweetened condensed milk, eggs, flour and lime juice. When it’s all incorporated properly, pour it over the crust and bake. That’s it!

The Verdict

This is definitely the tropics in a pan. It has a light, fresh citrus flavor while still letting all the creaminess that is cheesecake shine through. I like the crust for this a lot. It’s probably awesome with Lauren’s pretzels, but since I didn’t have any, I used lady fingers and vanilla wafers instead. I added a touch of salt since a margarita ain’t nuthin without the salt.

Dudette didn’t get to try these. They are, after all, alcohol-related and she’s only five. Hubby and I enjoyed them immensely though.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I had considered adding the zest of a lime to bump up the citrus flavor, but didn’t. Next time I make these I will add the zest.

It's Margarita Time! Secret Recipe Club Reveal Goes Caribbean
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
adapted from Keep It Sweet
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 bars
  • ¾ cup Vienna Finger (or vanilla sandwich cookie of choice) crumbs (about 6 cookies)
  • ¾ cup vanilla wafer crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 8-ounce blocks light cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (~2 limes)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine Vienna finger crumbs, vanilla wafer crumbs, butter, sugar and salt. Press crust mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 7 minutes, or until lightly browned; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on high for a few minutes until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until creamy and incorporated. Beat in the eggs, lime juice and vanilla. Stir in flour.
  4. Pour cheesecake mixture over crust and bake for 25 minutes or until firm and edges are separating from pan.
What I'd Do Different Next Time
I had considered adding the zest of a lime to bump up the citrus flavor, but didn't. Next time I make these I will add the zest.

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