billionaire bars

happy blogiversary to me!

can y’all believe that i’ve been blogging for a year now? um me neither.

i started this and wasn’t really sure if i would keep up with it. but for the most part, i have!! and while there have been some weeks where i posted more than others, i’ve been pretty successful about posting at least once a week. which as of right now, is a commitment i’m trying to maintain – if i post more during the week, awesome but i’m posting at least once a week and will hopefully be able to push that up to regular tues/th posts.

but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here….

i want to say a huge thanks to anyone that has read my ramblings… i know that it’s mostly my mom, dad and friends (hi!!) but there have been others and even if you just stopped by once, thanks. i feel like we’re all friends now so double hi!! i mean, i happened to glance at some of the stats (which i RARELY look at) and there have been readers as far aways as japan, brazil, the uk… for real. oh my geez. that leaves me speechless.

but anyways… the whole point of this is for me to share what’s come out of my kitchen and oh do i have doozy of a celebration treat for you!!

see i was originally trying to find something super special and fancy to make for this occasion but let’s admit it… i got lazy. but then i made these bars and to say they were a hit is putting it relatively mildly. i’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while and finally broke down and made it. and i say i broke down and made it but let’s be honest, it’s not a complicated recipe… i’m just indecisive when i crave about a billion different things.

so these bars… i’m sure you’ve heard of millionaire bars right? the shortbread crust with a caramel layer topped with some chocolate? right well these are beyond that. these add a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough between the caramel and chocolate topping. i found these over on michelle’s blog when the cookie dough lover’s cookbook came out. and knowing how well something from michelle can turn out on top of how well something from the cookbook turns out, i knew these would be a hit. i was just blissfully unaware of how much of a hit they would be.

billionaire bars

  • 1/3 c + 1/2 c + 2 tbs unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/3 c + 1/2 c + 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp + pinch salt
  • 1 c + 3/4 c flour
  • just shy of 2/3 c + 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
  • 2 oz semisweet
  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment, leaving some to overhang the sides (if you want to be able to pull the bars from the pan) or spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray (if you plan to serve straight out of the pan).
  2. make the shortbread crust: beat together the 1/3 c butter and 1/3 c sugar until light and fluffy. add the 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt and beat until combined. add the flour and mix until just incorporated. firmly press the dough evenly into the prepared pan; poke holes into the surface of the dough using a fork or skewer. bake 18-22 min, until the edges are just starting to brown. remove from oven and set on a wire rack.
  3. make the caramel: measure the just shy of 2/3 c of heavy cream into a measuring cup. spread the 1/2 c of sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy sauce pan. place over medium-low heat and watch it carefully. when the sugar begins to liquefy, gently stir it towards the center. continue to gentle stir (i swirlled rather than stirred) until the sugar is melted and the caramel has turned a deep amber. carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream; stirring until well incorporated. whisk in the remaining cream, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla. pour the caramel on the crust and refrigerate until set; 30 min – 1 hour.
  4. make the cookie dough layer: beat together the 1/2 c brown sugar and remaining 1/4 c sugar until light and fluffy. add the remaining 2 tbs heavy cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla; mix well. add the remaining 3/4 c flour and pinch of salt until just incorporated. stir in the mini chocolate chips. spread the cookie dough into an even layer on the caramel layer. place in the fridge while you make the chocolate glaze.
  5. make the chocolate glaze: using a double boiler, melt the semisweet and dark chocolates. once they are melted, stir in the remaining 2 tbs butter. pour the glaze over the cookie dough layer and refrigerate until set, about 30 min.

so there’s a couple of deals with these… i know it seems like a lot of work but trust me it’s not. it’s just a couple steps that need some time between each so don’t let that make you turn away.

also, you absolutely do not have to make your own caramel from scratch. you can do as the original recipe calls for and melt 7 oz soft caramel candies in a small saucepan. once that’s all melted, add 2 tbs heavy cream and stir until combined. then continue as directed. but seeing as how easy homemade caramel is, it’s hard for me to not use it.

you’re still hesitant?? for real, don’t be. these were described as a “little taste of heaven”.  (ok… so those weren’t the exact words but they were the blog appropriate version of the exact words…..)

go. make. now.

and thanks again.

kisses.

recipe adapted from: the cookie dough lover’s cookbook via brown eyed baker

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chicken parm meatballs

dear mother nature,

i think we need to have a chat about what the weather is supposed to feel like at the end of october. hint… it’s not supposed to be anywhere close to 90F. if you could make highs of like 70-75F and lows of like 50F happen, it would be greatly appreciated.

kisses.

for real though. it’s like hot down here in the south and i really don’t like it. seriously… it’s been pretty well documented. but i just thought maybe by putting out a plea to mother nature, it would cool down around here. and when it does, i can eat more meals like this.

i pinned this recipe last week and it usually takes me a little while to get to trying something. ummm not these meatballs. see what happened was i was walking around the farmer’s market and trying to come up with meals for the week. and then i remembered the idea of these meatballs and knew i just had to try them. and i did. last night. see i initially planned to bring you that etouffee i’ve know mentioned at least twice but then these happened. and as i have mentioned before, i get weary about sharing entrees since i haven’t mastered food styling and photography but i just have to share these with you.

these look like they could be super complicated, what with the cheese all in the inside, but trust me when i say they aren’t. i had everything cooked and ready to be eaten within 45 min of coming home.

chicken parm meatballs

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1 c whole wheat bread crumbs, divided – regular plain breadcrumbs would be fine
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 c vegetable oil (or enough to come about 2 in up the sides of your pan)
  • 3 oz mozzarella, cut into 12 pieces
  • 3 c marinara sauce – i used store bought to save time on a weeknight
  • 3/4 lb spaghetti (or whatever pasta you want to use)
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. line a baking sheet with papertowels. start heating your oil to 350F (use a candy/fry thermometer or an electric skillet).
  2. mix together the milk, 1/2 c breadcrumbs, salt and pepper together in a bowl. add the ground chicken and gently mix until it’s evenly distributed.
  3. add the remaining breadcrumbs to a shallow plate. separate your chicken/breadcrumb mixture into 4 even portions. flatten each portion into a disk; add 3 pieces of the mozzarella cheese and shape the disk into a ball around the cheese. (make sure to seal the balls really well so no cheese leaks during cooking!) roll each meatball in the waiting breadcrumbs.
  4. place the meatballs in the hot oil and fry until golden on all sides.(you’re not frying to cook through just to get them crunchy and golden.) transfer to the paper towel lined baking sheet to allow the excess oil to drain.
  5. start cooking your pasta according to the package directions.
  6. after the excess oil has drained, removed the paper towels from the baking sheet and place the meatballs on a rack on the baking sheet. bake 15 min until they are cooked through.
  7. toss the cooked pasta with the marinara sauce and divide among 4 plates/bowls. top each plate/bowl with one meatball.
  8. dig in!

go.

make these now.

kisses.

recipe from: tracey’s culinary adventures

coffee caramel glazed mini bundts

true story…

i’ve been trying to pump myself up about sharing some crawfish etouffee with you but then i remembered about these little goodies. i had kinda forgotten about these little gems until i was going through the pictures on my phone and i was like DUH!! how in the heck did i forget about these?!? i couldn’t believe myself.

the best thing about these little cakes is that i maaaaaay have found a perfect vanilla cupcake. for real. they are that good. and then you throw some caramel that’s been spiked with coffee up on top of there. sold.

coffee caramel glazed mini bundts

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) + 1/4 c (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 c milk, room temp
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 tbs heavy cream
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar
  1. preheat your oven to 350F. grease and flour your mini bundt pan (or a standard 12 cup muffin tin will work too).
  2. mix together the flour and baking soda in a bowl; set aside.
  3. beat together the sugar, 1/2 c butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy. beat in the eggs, one at a time. reduce speed and add the dry ingredients until just about blended. add the milk, mixing until everything is just well blended. divide the batter among the mini bundt cups.
  4. bake 10 min before rotating the pan and rapping it on the rack to deflate them a bit. continue baking 10-12 min more until a toothpick comes out clean. cool completely on a wire rack before inverting the cakes out.
  5. make the glaze: combine the brown sugar, coffee, remaining butter and salt in a small saucepan. over high heat and stirring often, bring the mixture to a boil and boil until reduced by half, about 3 min. remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and heavy cream. allow to cool 20 min before adding the powdered sugar.
  6. spoon the glaze over the cakes and let set for about 30 min.

y’all for real.

these were freaking fantastic.

and on top of that, shauna wrote another cookbook! it’s called pure vanilla. now… i don’t own this cookbook (yet) nor do i know shauna BUT i might have mentioned how much i like good vanilla. so in that spirit, i figure i would tell you about the cookbook. that’s it.

oh and i absolutely must share this picture of these babies that i posted on instagram (@pinktigerblog) the night i made them…

i mean i absolutely have no words.

ok maybe i have these: go make these. now.

kisses.

recipe from: piece of cake

buttermilk spice muffins

i am not a morning person. never have been, never will be. i’m not one of those people who have to get up at the crack of dawn because they don’t want to waste the day away. i mean who said the day started at the crack of dawn anyway?? whoever it was, they were severely off their rocker. i mean for real. my day starts when i say it starts okay? ok so maybe sometimes my days start a little later than most and i might be a little late to the party on that. (not to be confused with being late to events which i am not.)

maybe my lack of being a morning person is what translates into my lack of being a breakfast person. don’t get me wrong. i can enjoy a good peanut butter toast or some fluffy pancakes but it’s not my favorite meal of the day. i much prefer a good dinner. and i’m totally willing to skimp on lunch if i know dinner is going to be rocking. which these muffins help accomplish. they were super filling. as in i think i ate lunch at like 2p…. HOURS after i ate a muffin. and even then i barely ate a sandwich. it may have had something to do with the fact that i may have made these jumbo muffins but i’m pretty sure that they would have been just as filling as standard muffins.

buttermilk spice muffins

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 c + 2 tbs + 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c + 1 tbs buttermilk
  • 1 c pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  1. make the streusel topping: combine the pecans, brown sugar, 1/2 c sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cloves in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. preheat oven to 375F. line a standard muffin tin with liners.
  3. cream together the butter and remaining sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
  4. in a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. slowly add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter/sugar combo, alternating dry and wet (start and end with flour mixture). mix until just combined.
  5. fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter. sprinkle about 1 tbs of streusel topping on each muffin and gently press down into the batter so it sticks.
  6. bake 20-28 min, until golden brown and the muffins pass the toothpick to the center test.

if someone wants to come and make these for me in the mornings, maybe you can convert me to a morning person.

what’s your favorite meal?

kisses.

recipe adapted from: my life as a mrs

lemonfish with basic risotto

do you ever have those days that you wish you could leave everything behind to move to the islands to go sell coconuts?

is that just me?

i mean for real. there are some days that i just wish i could have simiplicity of it. i mean i’m sure i’m totally romanticizing it all and that i would get bored in less than a week. but it sounds like a fabulous deal, i mean aside from the constant sweltering heat but i think i could learn to live with that. and i’m not talking about going to live in gulf shores or panama city. i’m talking about the virgin islands or bora bora or some where like. and if i’m being honest, i’ve never been to either of those locales but the pictures look gorgeous so i like to pretend that would be awesome. i could totally live the life that kenny and jimmy sing about. you know… all kicked back in a old blue chair with a boat drink in my hand.

but for real.

and if i lived on an island i could make dinners like this all the time because i could fish i all the time. i might have mentioned to you that i recently went fishing and this was part of the spoils of the trip. see i didn’t actually catch this but that’s why we share.

lemonfish with basic risotto

  • 4 lemonfish (cobia) filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • 1 – 2 tbs canola oil
  • 4 c reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 c arborio rice
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. place the canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and get it good and hot.
  2. season your fish filets with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. place the filet in the hot skillet and cook 5 min so that you get a nice golden crust. turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 3-5 min until the fish is cooked all the way through.
  3. make your risotto: bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan; cover and keep warm over low heat. in a large saucepan, melt 2 tbs of butter over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and sautee until tender but not brown. add the rice and stir to coat in the buttery goodness. add the white wine and simmer until the wine is nearly absorbed, about 3 min. add 1/2 c of chicken stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 min. continue this addition and stirring until rice is tender and all the stock is absorbed (make sure each 1/2 c of stock is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 c), about 20 min total. remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
  4. serve the hot risotto with your beautifully cooked lemonfish!

here’s a couple notes:

– since these were fresh caught filets and i don’t have a kitchen scale, i have no idea what the weight of these were. if you were looking for a specific weight to buy, i would go with a 6 oz filet.

– if you don’t have lemonfish (cobia), you could substitute and firm white fish in its place.

– yes. i am aware that risotto can seem really daunting (all that stirring!) but i promise you it’s really not. as long as you have arborio (or medium grain rice) and you stir, it will come out. it is more needy than it’s cousin long grain rice but it’s oh so good.

– no i didn’t give an exact flour measurement because all you need to do is dredge it in the flour. i just put a handful on a plate and go from there. you just want to coat the fish so if i tell you 1/2 c +, you could waste a lot of flour that way.

– make sure when you’re sauteeing your fish, you don’t crowd the pan. you want to get a good sear on the filets so make sure you keep your pan hot. if you have a large enough pan to fit all the filets without them touching and crowding each other, use 1 tbs oil. if not and you need to do more than 1 batch, use an additional 1 tbs of oil per batch.

i know that’s a lot of notes but honestly, with the simplicity of this recipe, i almost feel like you need every one of them. this is more about the cooking techniques than about ingredients really. i promise this is so much simpler than giving a bunch of notes makes it seem. and this is really worth trying if you can get your hands on some fresh lemonfish!

kisses.

recipes adapted from: john besh’s my new orleans, giada de laurentiis’s everyday italian