I know I owe you all a France recap, but that's probably not going to happen until Sunday or Monday. If you're really curious, most of the pictures are up on Flickr so you can take a peek over there if you can't wait. Why haven't I gotten around to writing my France post yet? Well, yesterday I was super busy prepping for the Jimmy Buffett concert that we're attending tomorrow. You may be wondering why one would spend so much time prepping for a concert, but to that I say you've never been to a Jimmy Buffett concert! In all honesty, the tailgate is almost as important as the actual concert. Parrotheads pull out all the stops, bringing swimming pools in the bed of their pick-up trucks, full bars, ice luges, EVERYTHING. Don't believe me? See my post from last year's concert for some fun photos.
We've been planning our tailgate for weeks and I can't wait for it to all come together tomorrow. Jon and I were in charge of bringing the cooler, paper goods/cups, decorations, limes, dessert and pasta salad and our other six friends are bringing the beer, ice, margaritas, chips/salsa, jello shots, hamburgers/hot dogs/brats/buns, tables/chairs, plasticware and grill. Jon's also bringing his bean bag toss game that I bought him for Christmas and I'm sure there will be other tailgate games. The decorations that we bought are simply awesome: two large inflatable palm trees, a large inflatable shark (for on top of Jon's 4 Runner), an inflatable monkey and parrot, a string of parrot cutouts, leis for everyone and probably more stuff that we're forgetting. We have little tropical drink umbrellas that were left over from our wedding reception so we'll bringing those too. I promise to take lots of pictures!
Since we'll be out in the sun all day, I thought long and hard about what kind of pasta salad and dessert to make. I decide to throw together a simple, non-mayo based pasta salad (tri-color rotini, zesty Italian salad dressing, carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, green peppers and some of Emeril's Essence) but up until Wednesday, I was still struggling to come up with dessert. I was looking for something tropical, yet something that could sit out in the heat all day without spoiling or melting. That's when I came across Smitten Kitten's recipe for Margarita Cookies. It was exactly what I was looking for! The prep itself takes a while (the dough needs a total of two and a half hours of chill time), but the actual mixing and baking part doesn't take long at all. And let me tell you, these cookies are divine!
Makes about 50 cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons tequila
Grated zest of 2 limes
Grate zest of half an orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
Approximately 1/2 cup clear sanding or other coarse sugar
2 teaspoons flaky Maldon sea salt
1. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in 1 of the egg yolks, followed by the salt, tequila, grated lime and orange zest. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s ok–just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
2. Working on a smooth surface, form each piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick. (Get the thickness right, and the length you end up with will be fine.) Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
3. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. While the oven is preheating, work on the sugar coating: Whisk the remaining egg yolk in a small bowl until it is smooth and liquid enough to use as a glaze. Mix the coarse sugar and flaky salt well and spread the mixture out on a piece of wax paper. Remove the logs of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap them, and brush them lightly with a little egg yolk. Roll the logs in the sugar, pressing the sugar/salt mixture gently to get it to stick if necessary, then, using a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch space between them.
5. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. (It’s fine if the yolk-brushed edges brown a smidgen.) Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.
Keeping: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature. Because the sugar coating will melt, these cookies are not suitable for freezing.
The Dough Log (after being rolled in the sugar/salt mixture and cut into slices):
The Finished Product (notice my cute, lil' polka-dotted tin that I bought on sale at Michaels):
A Close-up of the Lime-y Goodness (aren't they pretty?):