top 13 of ’13

so today is the last day of 2013….

i know i should be all sad and melancholy about the year ending but honestly, it has been the shortest {seriously, i feel like *just* yesterday i was doing the top 12 of ’12} but it has also been the looooongest year for me.

and since it’s the last day of the year, it’s the perfect time to round up the top 13 of ’13 {based on recipes that were posted in 2013}. i’m going to show you the top 7 based on views and my top 6.

hope you enjoy what made the list!

your top 7

7. vanilla caramel cheesecake – as much as i would love to say i get this, as i said i’m not a fan of cheesecake. but i am a HUGE fan of the caramel layer and my friend who requested this as a birthday treat loved it!

vanilla caramel cheesecake6. brown sugar maple cookies – these little gems made their way to my kitchen via averie cooks and i’m so glad they did!! they were maplely and soft and everything a cookie should be.

brown sugar maple cookies5. brownie cookies – another hit cookie from averie! i mean how could you go wrong with 3/4 lb of chocolate in a cookie that kept a melty center and chewy brownie like edge?!

brownie cookies4. mini grasshopper pies – mint chocolate + mini mason jar = cuteness & deliciousness overload!! i mean there was definitely something magical about putting a mint chocolate pie in a mini mason jar.

mini grasshopper pie3. jalapeno cheesy bacon rolls – oh.my.geez these rolls!! there are so many reasons i love that these were the 3rd most viewed recipe from this year!! partly because i was successful with yeast and because spicy, cheesy, bacony goodness!!

jalapeno cheddar bacon swirl rolls2. breakfast casserole – this is by far my 2nd most requested recipe of all time!! it even earned me an insulated pyrex dish!! :)

breakfast casserole1. twinkie bundt cake – it’s a giant version of the all american favorite that we almost lost this year. plus it came from on of my favorite cookbooks.

twinkie bundt cake

my top 6:

6. greek couscous salad – this pasta salad turned out to be such a hit!! i loved it so so much and it’s super versatile.

greek couscous salad5. red velvet sandwich cookies - these are BY FAR the most requested recipe i get asked to make… which makes me smile because they are so stinking easy!!

red velvet sandwich cookies4. cookie monster ice cream – i love ice cream and that love has only grown since i got my ice cream maker. and this ice cream…. how could you go wrong with oreos and chocolate chip cookies!?

cookie monster ice cream3. brownie sundae ice cream – so i obviously love ice cream since it’s my nos. 3 and 4… and cookie monster narrowly lost out to this recipe. the caramel swirl was the nail in cookie monster ice cream’s coffin.

Brownie Sundae Ice Cream via Pink Tiger in the Kitchen2. caramel stuffed chocolate cupcakes – no shocker that it’s another recipe that has caramel but truth be told, even if the caramel isn’t there these are fantastic!! this is my new go to chocolate buttercream and cupcake recipe. in fact these came about when i was testing for a wedding and once i tasted the end result, i was in love.

Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes via Pink Tiger in the Kitchen1. amped up drunken blondies – i mean c’mon. these have me ALL.OVER.IT. there’s brown butter, bacon, booze, chocolate, and sugar. are you surprised?!

amped up drunken blondiesi hope some of your favorites made the list!!

thank you for dropping by now and then to stalk what’s coming out of my kitchen. i hope everyone has a marvelous new year’s eve and a wonderful 2014!!

kisses.

peppermint mocha cupcakes

i know….

three posts in one week!

what has happened to me??

i mean i went like a year between the last couple of posts and this week.

and to be honest, i wasn’t planning on posting this much this week but today is super special…

see i just made these cupcakes for my mom’s office departmental christmas party. and i was feeling quite proud of myself so i posted a picture over on instagram and one of my favorite bloggers said she just made them too!! so zainab and i made a blogging date to share these today because great minds think alike!!

{and you should go totally check out her version too!!}

so these cupcakes….

when my mom asked me to make something, she gave me carte blanche. she did mention chocolate and maybe something stuffed in the center. so i brainstormed because at this time of year, festive is always best. and that’s when i remembered seeing these over at naomi’s site. plus i had already bought the peppermint andes and i knew that a boozed topped version was meant to be….

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes from Pink Tiger in the Kitchen

peppermint mocha cupcakes

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c + 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/3 c + 2 tbs dark cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c {1 stick} unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 tbs instant espresso
  • 1/2 c hot coffee
  • 1 recipe peppermint schnapps ganache {recipe below}
  • 1 recipe peppermint schnapps swiss meringue buttercream {recipe below}
  • 1/2 recipe chocolate pouring sauce {recipe below}
  • peppermint andes, for decorarting {optional}
  • peppermint candies, for topping {optional}
  1. preheat oven to 350F and line baking cups with paper liners.
  2. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt; set aside. add the butter, eggs, peppermint and vanilla extract to a bowl and beat together on medium speed for one minute. add in half the coffee followed by the dry ingredients. add the remaining coffee and beat until just combined. divide evenly among lined cupcake cups.
  3. bake 18-22 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. remove from oven and set on a rack to cool.
  4. while the cupcakes are cooling, make the peppermint schnapps ganache and allow to cool slightly before filling the cupcakes by either cutting a 1 in hole with a small knife in the top or by using the bottom of a large pastry tip; cut the hole about 2/3 the way down into the cupcakes. spoon the cooled ganache into the center of the cupcakes, pipe the peppermint schnapps swiss meringue buttercream on top and drizzle over the chocolate sauce. sprinkle the peppermint andes over the top and top each with single peppermint candy.

peppermint schnapps ganache

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp peppermint schnapps
  1. make the peppermint schnapps ganache filling by heating the heavy cream until just simmering and the pouring it over the bittersweet chocolate and 2 tbs butter to melt. stir in the peppermint schnapps.

peppermint schnapps swiss meringue buttercream

  • 3 egg whites, room temp
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 c {2 sticks} unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1/4 c peppermint schnapps
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • pinch salt
  1. combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer placed over simmering water. while whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 160F, or until the sugar is completely dissolved {you can test this by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should be completely smooth.}
  2. transfer the bowl to the mixer base; using your whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until the mixture cools and doubles in volume, about 10-12 min. {the bowl should feel cool to the touch.} add the butter 1 tbs at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. once all the butter has been added, add in the peppermint extract, peppermint schnapps and salt. continue to beat until it’s thoroughly combined. {it might not look like it’s coming together but keep beating; it will become even and smooth.}

chocolate pouring sauce

  • 2/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 4 tbs powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-5 tbs warm water
  1. place chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. let the chocolate and cream heat and melt together for 2-3 min without stirring; slowly stir mixture to combine. sift the powdered sugar into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. add water 1 tbs at a time until the mixture is a pouring consistency. {i only need 1-1/2 tbs.} set aside to let the sauce cool before drizzling over the assembled cupcakes.

kisses

cupcake and pouring sauce recipe adapted from: bakers royale, ganache recipe adapted from this whiskey ganache, swiss meringue buttercream adapted from: bakers royale

chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

soooooo……

right after i talk about how i’m too lazy to get into the christmas spirit, i’m here with some chocolate dipped snickerdoodles for a cookie exchange!!

yes my friends… it’s that time of year again!!

the great food blogger cookie swap!!

if you didn’t catch the low down last year, i’ll give you the short story.

lindsey and julie organize a cookie swap among bloggers… you sign up and they match you receive the address of three food bloggers and three food bloggers receive your address. everyone sends everyone some delicious homemade goodness.

in addition to the fun-ness of the homemade goodness, we also partner with cookies for kids’ cancer. so you not only get the homemade goodness but everyone raises money for a good cause.

did i mention the homemade goodness??

right…. on to that!

see last year’s cookie swap inspired me to host my own with my friends and for this year’s food blogger cookie swap, i sent some of my friend rachel’s chocolate dipped snickerdoodles. last year when she brought them over, i was a little suspicious. see, i love some snickerdoodles but dipping them in chocolate. i hate to admit, i was skeptical. i mean, i like snickerdoodles and i like chocolate but it kinda weirded me out to combine the 2.

but was i wrong!

these ended up being the cookies that i would eat one, then another, then 5 more. after that, i knew immediately, that these would be this year’s food blogger cookie swap cookie.

and because i can’t help but tinker, i tinkered. i swapped out half of the shortening for butter because i feel that butter brings some flavor to the party. and i added some vanilla because vanilla makes everything better. but really… other than those changes, rachel’s recipe was pretty on point. i really hope that valerie, deanna and caitlin enjoyed these as much as i did!!

chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

oh and check this out…. here’s the recipe!

rachels chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

so what did some amazing bloggers send me you ask?

well…..

the first package i received were some gorgeous swirled sugar cookies from alicia over at balancing motherhood. {and funny side note, alicia is based in north carolina and i got her package when i came home from north carolina! happy coincidence!}

rlk and l. smith from first time foods sent some wee little pecan tassies. they were like mini pecan pies!

and finally i received what i thought was the most festive of my packages from sara over at the pajama chef. there is something about the cranberry pistachio citrus cookies that makes me feel like the deliciousness is perfect for the holidays!

i hope that these cookies, and all the other ones from the other participating blogs, inspire you to bake some up and have some friends and family over for the holidays!

kisses.

quick white wine chicken

so we are officially in full blown holiday mode around the country….

and can i tell you a secret?

i’m totally not.

it’s not that i’m totally anti-holiday, i’m just lazy. i mean i put up a christmas wreath and sometime between now and then i’ll change out my doormat. but other than that, nada.

and christmas / holiday music?

sorry but i can really only take it on christmas eve.

again, it’s not that i don’t like it but i just feel like we get inundated with it starting on august 1. {maybe that’s a smidgen of an exaggeration but you get my point.}

plus let’s be real… this time of year is like crazy hectic. i mean i feel like things go nonstop once halloween passes. {which is partly to blame for my sporadic posting,  the other part…. see referenced laziness.}

with the hecticness of the season i figure you probably need a good, quick meal on the table.

{nice segway huh?}

and we know i normally don’t share too much savory but i do cook myself dinner pretty much every night. {ok well that’s kinda a fib since i have leftovers so maybe i don’t cook every night but i do pretty much eat something homecooked so there’s that.}  part of the reason i don’t post too many dinner recipes is because i get home late which means i eat late which means it’s dark which means questionably pictures. womp womp. buuuuuut this meal was too good not to share. i made it twice within the span of like 3 weeks which means that i ate it a lot. aaaaaaand i ate all the leftovers.

the recipe comes from an america’s test kitchen cookbook that i scored in the discounted section of barnes & noble. it’s super simple and you probably have almost all the ingredients on hand; you probably just need to run to the store for leeks and creme fraiche. if you don’t want to use creme fraiche or your store doesn’t carry it, you can totally substitute homemade creme fraiche {1 c heavy cream with 1 tbs buttermilk stirred in and allowed to sit at room temp until thickened} although i personally haven’t tried it so… oh and i’ve made this with chicken thighs and chicken breasts and both have been fabulous.

quick white wine chickenquick white wine chicken

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken {thighs or breast cutlets}
  • 1-1/2 lb small red / yellow potatoes
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 lb leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped and thoroughly washed
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 in thick
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c creme fraiche
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. pat chicken pieces dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. add potatoes to a medium-large pot and cover with water. boil potatoes for 10-15 min until fork tender; drain and toss with 1 tbs butter.
  3. melt 1 tbs butter in 12-in skillet over med high heat; add half of your chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on each side, about 3-4 min a side. transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. repeat with an additional 1 tbs butter and remaining chicken pieces.
  4. melt the remaining 1 tbs butter in the empty skillet and add in the leeks and carrots. cook until the veggies are softened and starting to brown, about 4-5 min. add in the wine to deglaze the pan; add in the chicken and any juices. reduce heat to medium and cover the pan; cook until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear, about 15-20 min. transfer the chicken to your plate and retent with aluminum foil. reduce liquid until slightly thickened (4 min) and remove from heat. add in the creme fraiche, lemon juice, salt and pepper. arrange chicken and potatoes on a serving platter with the sauce poured over top.

kisses

recipe from: america’s test kitchen’s simple weeknight favorites

amped up drunken blondies

oh my gosh y’all.

i’ve been totally holding out.

but but but not purposefully!!

i’ve been meaning to share these for like 2 weeks now but things have been crazy and then i had a viral infection last week so the crazy was even crazier!

so since i’ve been holding out i’m not going to blab on and on about something…. we’ll get straight to the food.

i couple weeks ago i was in the mood to make something but i wasn’t really sure what. well that’s kinda a lie. i really wanted to make brownies but while i was browsing pinterest for an idea, i saw these cookies over at heather’s site. {yes i’m totally aware that cookies and brownies aren’t the same thing.} then i turned to one of my new favorite cookbooks and saw a recipe for drunken blondies and it was like everything righted itself in the world and i got to work.

and of course me being me, i couldn’t leave things alone. but let’s be real…. melted butter is really just screaming to be brown butter. {which if you are looking for a fabulous tutorial on, see darla’s here!} and i mean bourbon really loves maple and bacon so why not make sure the bffs are together? it’s only right.

so if you’re looking for a dessert to bring to your tailgate this upcoming weekend or something different for your thanksgiving dessert buffet, give these a try!

amped up drunken blondiesamped up drunken blondies

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 c {8-10 slices} bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 c {2 sticks} brown butter
  • 2 tbs bacon grease
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 tbs bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line a 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the ends to hang over the edges of the pan; grease with baking spray.
  2. whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. in a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, bacon grease, and brown sugars until smooth and well combined. add in the eggs, bourbon, vanilla extract and maple extract; mix until thoroughly combined. stir in the dry ingredients followed by the bacon bits, pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. bake 20-25 min or until the top is golden brown. remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. cut into bars and keep in an airtight container.

seriously good bars and no fancy mixer required!

kisses.

recipe adapted from: the back in the day bakery cookbook

candy corn magic bars

not one to shy away from controversial topics i have to weigh in on one….

and this one i can actually weigh in on….

i’m sure by now you may have heard of the “fit mom” that caused all kinds of controversy by posting a picture of herself with her 3 young sons with the words “what’s your excuse?”

well all kinds of people are giving their opinion on the matter and because i happened to read a few articles about it and this is my teeny, tiny corner to say something, here’s mine….

i don’t think what she did is “fat shaming” as some are calling it. you know what i have to say to her… good for you. for everyone out there saying all kinds of negative things, you are exactly who she is talking to. she’s not saying that everyone needs to have her washboard abs and be all kinds of ripped. she’s just asking what someone’s excuse it.

i mean look…. i go to the gym 5-7 days a week. i make it a priority. it matters to me whether i make it to gym or not. BUUUUUT there are definitely some days i have an “excuse”. i’m tired or i have a headache. and i know when i boil it down, it’s an excuse. and i’m OK with that. but there have also been days where i had to work late so i left, went to my spin class and came back to the office and worked into the night. for me, it is something i enjoy and that i have begun to make it more of a priority and stopped making so many excuses. that’s all this chick is saying.

or maybe you fall more in line with this lady… to which i totally give her a high five {and you too!}

when it comes to something like this, i think it’s to each, their own.

but i know if i don’t make it to the gym, i can’t eat like an entire pan of these bars because let’s be real, i have no will power towards something like these.

i mean for real.

since halloween is coming, i totally let this idea give me the perfect excuse to buy a bag of candy corn.

which some people love or hate. personally…. i happen to love the stuff.

then m&m’s came out with some white chocolate candy corn m&m’s AND oreos had some limited edition candy corn golden oreos.

{side note…. those freaking oreos go fast so they didn’t make it to this recipe but NEXT YEAR my friends.}

so with all the signs coming from the universe i knew all these candy corn things must be combined to make some magic bars. and then i threw some peanuts in there because apparently it’s a thing.

{second side note….. BEST.COMBO.EVER.}

but back to these bars.

make.them.

candy corn magic bars from pink tiger in the kitchen

candy corn magic bars

  • 1 (17.5 oz) package sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) brown butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c chopped golden oreos
  • 1 c candy corn m&m’s {or white chocolate chunks}
  • 1 c lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 c candy corn
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  1. preheat the oven to 350F. grease a 11×17″ or 9×13″ pyrex dish, depending on thick you’d like your bars.
  2. stir together the cookie mix, brown butter, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract together. press evenly in your  pyrex dish. sprinkle the oreos pieces evenly over the dough followed by m&m’s {or white chocolate chunks}, peanuts and candy corn. evenly pour the condensed milk over the top.
  3. bake 23-30 min until the crust and top are golden. cool completely before slicing.

so let’s all make some of these bars and meet at the gym and eat them.

{oh and last side note….. i totally brought these to my gym for the awesome people at the front desk. true story.}

kisses.

mocha muffins

true story….

i looked down and when i looked back up 3 weeks have passed!!

i originally started this post back in the middle of september and then life got all kinds of weird and now i’m back to it. gah.

with all the fall baking trends going on i have a confession to make…. most of them i’m not a fan of. for real.

i’m not big on pumpkin so all these pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pumpkin are totally unappetizing to me. but i can get behind using pumpkin pie spice because duh it’s really just like a kicked up cinnamon. which is the same as apple pie spice.

which brings me to i’m not a fan of cooked apples. so unless it’s a sliced up granny smith, you can keep it.

it’s a texture thing.

but these muffins have none of those things. these muffins have chocolate and coffee which means they are totally breakfast food. i mean duh they’re called muffins. :)

i saw these muffins one day on pinterest and knew they needed to be made immediately. i mean it was like a sign because i had some buttermilk that was on the verge of being dumped and, again, chocolate and coffee. but in an effort to feel a smidge less guilty about having chocolate muffins for breakfast, i swapped out some of the ap flour for whole wheat flour. i mean that automatically makes it 1000% healthier right?

if you wanted to be even healthier, you could find one of those handy dandy conversion charts to sub some greek yogurt for some of the buttermilk. if you do, lemme know how that goes k?

mocha muffinsmocha muffins

    • 1 c ap flour
    • 1 c whole wheat flour
    • 2/3 c light brown sugar
    • 1/2 c cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1-1/2 tbs espresso powder
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 6 tbs butter, melted
    • 1-1/2 c buttermilk, room temp
    • 2 eggs, room tem
    • 1 tsp vanilla

1 c dark chocolate chips

streusel topping

  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 tbs butter, room temp
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. preheat the oven to 375F. line a muffin tin with baking cups.
  2. in a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. in a smaller bowl, mix together the melted butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined; stir in chocolate chips. divide the batter evenly among the muffin cupsl
  4. make your streusel topping: combine all streusel ingredients in a small bowl. cut the butter into the other ingredients until it’s coarse and crumbly. sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter.
  5. bake 18-20 min, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. remove from the oven and let cool 5 min before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

see… chocolate for breakfast!!

kisses.

recipe adapted from: handle the heat