Thanks to orange cointreau in the cookie, tequila in the icing, and plenty of lime juice, these Margarita Cookies taste just like the drink! They're perfect for summertime parties or as happy hour treats.
Who needs a drink? Who needs a cookie? Who needs both? Why not just combine them together and call it a day (or a really fun night??).
For me, one of the best parts of summer is enjoying a margarita on the deck in the sunshine. But sometimes I just want a sweet treat instead of a full-on cocktail. These margarita cookies actually taste like a margarita thanks to the fact that they have both tequila and orange cointreau in them.
I do have some tips below for making the cookies alcohol-free, but if you're OK with a little alcohol, definitely make them as is. The tequila and orange cointreau can definitely be tasted in the cookies, but is still nice and discrete.
Margarita Shortbread Cookies Recipe
These margarita cookies are easy to make with a pretty standard slice-and-bake shortbread dough recipe. OK, a pretty standard shortbread dough recipe that also involves lots of lime zest, lime juice, and orange cointreau.
Once you make the cookie dough divide it into two portions and place each on a large piece of plastic wrap.
Fold the plastic wrap over dough to completely cover the dough and use your hands to roll the dough into a smooth log, about 2″ in diameter. Repeat with second half of dough.
Now, the dough will need about 2 hours to chill in the fridge.
And then it needs to be rolled in some coarse sugar. Yes, needs.
And then sliced and baked!
While the cookies are cooling, you can whip up that tequila icing! This is key to these margarita cookies since there's no actual tequila in the cookies.
I like to sprinkle on a little more lime zest on the icing, along with a healthy sprinkling of sea salt. It's like the salted rim on the margarita glass.
But seriously, even if you usually opt out of the salted rim on your margaritas, try these cookies with a little sea salt on them. There's something about the sugar, salt, citrus, tequila combo that is just awesome.
Would these margarita shortbread cookies go perfectly with a nice extra large icy margarita? Well, yes, of course. But they're also quite nice on their own. As an afternoon treat.
They're especially perfect for bringing to summertime parties or gatherings. Just make sure you warn everyone that there's alcohol in the cookies! Though there's not a lot in the grand scheme of things, you can definitely taste it and you probably wouldn't want kids at the party running around eating these.
But adults? Adults will want to eat these.
How to Make These Cookies Without Alcohol
Really, margarita cookies are best when there's alcohol involved, but you can still make a pretty good mock margarita cookie sans alcohol. After all, so much of a margarita's flavor is thanks to all that lime juice.
If you want to leave alcohol out of these cookies, use orange juice instead of orange cointreau in the cookie. And just leave the tequila out of the icing, using more lime juice instead.
Make sure to sprinkle on the sea salt since this will help contribute to the margarita taste!
I can't wait to make these margarita shortbread cookies all summer long. Though I may not be attending as many summer parties this year as is typical, I'm planning to bake these up and deliver them to friends!
If cookies aren't quite your thing, I also have a recipe for Margarita Cupcakes! And if you prefer to sip your margaritas, I highly recommend these Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas. I also can't wait to make these Tropical Margarita Popsicles from Urban Bliss Life!
Margarita Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbsp orange cointreau (can substitute with triple sec)
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup coarse/decorative sugar
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp lime zest, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 Tbsp tequila
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Mix in lime zest, lime juice, and orange cointreau.
- With mixer running on low speed, add flour to butter mixture and beat to just blend, taking care not to over-mix.
- Divide dough in half and place each half on large pieces of plastic wrap. Fold plastic wrap over dough to completely cover and use your hands to roll the dough into a smooth log, about 2″ in diameter. Repeat with second half of dough and then place in fridge to chill until firm, about 2 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Taking one dough log out of the fridge at a time, brush the outside of each log with egg wash and roll in coarse sugar.
- Slice each log into ½”-thick rounds and arrange on prepared baking sheet about 1″ apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until edges are just beginning to turn golden. Let cool slightly on pan before moving to wire racks to cool completely before icing.
- Dip cooled cookies in tequila glaze coating about ½ of cookie. Sprinkle on sea salt and additional lime zest.
- In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, lime zest, tequila, and lime juice.
- To make these cookies non-alcoholic, substitute orange juice for orange cointreau in cookies and lime juice for tequila in icing.