Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mini-Margarita Cheesecakey Bites

Yesterday was haircut day. In this neighborhood, the genius who does the work on The Bat's and my challenging mops gets not only cash and hugs, but something a little decadent from the kitchen. Sometimes it's chocolate, sometimes it's liquor...this time, it's tequila (cue the Peewee Herman dance, and tell 'em Large Marge sent you).

Not only is it tequila, it's cheesecakes. Bite-sized. No-bake. So none of the liquor bakes out. And you can easily lose track of how much you've had.

That's not a bug, it's a feature.

Another feature is, it's really a quick-and-easy process. Once I assembled the ingredients, and the cream cheese was allowed to soften to room temperature, the whole thing took only 20 minutes for me to prepare. It makes at least 7 dozen (if you have that many good, bowl-shaped tortilla scoops. Otherwise, it makes as many as you can get, plus a small bowl full of tasty, tangy dip).

There's another plus to this: the alcohol is totally optional (unless it's going to the salon)!

It's great for parties, either way, so if you have a Spring Break event, or you're thinking all the way ahead to Cinco de Mayo or graduation day, or somebody's wedding, you can make a gazillion of these in short order, either teetotalling or liquored up, and people will go bonkers.

How to drink your Margaritas without looking like you're drinking…

Mini-Margarita Cheesecakey Bites


1 (10 ounce) bag tortilla "scoops" bowl-shaped chips
1 (8 ounce) packet cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup tequila (optional)
1/8 cup orange liqueur (optional)
1 (6 ounce) can* frozen limeade concentrate - DO NOT THAW!


Make sure you have room in your refrigerator.  

Set up trays of tortilla chip bowls: (I used three 12-inch pizza pans with low rims to hold them in place as I worked). Select at least 80 chips from bag, based on their shape - good, unbroken, with high sides and slightly flattened bottoms so they will hold the filling and still stand alone on a plate.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until it is fluffy. Add in condensed milk, beat until smooth, then mix in tequila, orange liqueur, and frozen limeade concentrate. Mix well.

Using a 2-teaspoon-sized cookie scoop like this one, or a piping bag with no special tip, fill each tortilla scoop with the batter. When each tray is completed, cover lightly with plastic and put it in the refrigerator. Allow to chill at least two hours, until mostly firm (they do not freeze very well, I'm sorry to say).

Serve topped with whipped cream. You may choose to go the lazy way & get pre-fab stuff, like the canned whipped cream, or the frozen non-dairy whipped topping, or you can, a few minutes before you're ready to serve, make some lime-whipped cream:

Special whipped cream topping:
1 pint whipping cream
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon ultrafine granulated sugar*

In a chilled bowl, beat whipping cream and lime juice on high until soft peaks begin to form. Sprinkle sugar into cream, continuing to beat until light and fluffy and stiff peaks begin to form - but be careful! You want to stop before it turns to butter! 

Allow your guests to apply their whipped cream on their own – from the can or with a teaspoon – then just sit back and enjoy the accolades.

*I ended up buying a 12-ounce can of limeade concentrate (that's all they had at Aldi), used half the can in the cheesecake filling, then allowed the remaining concentrate to thaw, substituted 2 Tablespoons of that for the lime juice and sugar, and made a quart of limeade, as well, to carry with me as a drink mixer for the afternoon/evening crowd.

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