Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014 and Other Musings

It has been an amazing year here in the Lemon & Mocha kitchen. We were thankful to be accepted into the BlogHer ad network, celebrated our first year blogiversary and even hit a record high on views in one day thanks to this mouthwatering BuzzFeed article. Milestones aside, we also made some of our favorite dishes, received some of our sweetest comments and continued to love sharing this journey with you all every single day. I thought it would be fun to look back and see what were the most popular posts during 2014 so I’ve gathered the top 10 for you here. It was nice to see some new treats as well as old classics make the list! I decided to get in on the action as well and post Lemon & Mocha’s 10 favorite new posts from 2014. Here we go!

Readers’ most popular 10 posts in 2014, starting at #10:

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

10. Chocolate Peppermint Fudge. This holiday classic is festive and delicious.

Kale & Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp  |  Lemon & Mocha
9. Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp. This dish is SO GOOD. Make it now.

Mini Molten Chocolate Pecan Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha
8. Mini Molten Chocolate Pecan Pies. A recent post from 2014 and definitely an exciting treat.

Raspberries & Cream Sponge Cake Jelly Roll  |  Lemon & Mocha
7. Raspberries and Cream Sponge Cake Jelly Roll. My first ever jelly roll! It is easier than you think. Make your New Year’s resolution to try something new in the kitchen!

Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate  |  Lemon & Mocha
6. Spiked Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. Nutella and booze? Sinfully delicious.

Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken  |  Lemon & Mocha
5. Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken. Certainly an old classic, but still a reader favorite.

Baked Crab Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha
4. Baked Crab Dip. I was excited to see my family’s recipe make the top 10 list as this gooey and tasty appetizer certainly deserves a spot.

Crispy Baked Kale Chips  |  Lemon & Mocha
3. Crispy Baked Kale Chips. Healthy and simple- perfect for the New Year!

Chocolate Ganache  |  Lemon & Mocha
2. Chocolate Ganache. This one photo says it all…

World's Smoothest Chocolate Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha
1. World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge. A big thanks to my stepmom for sharing this recipe with me, and to her friend who shared it with her all those many years ago! And of course to Matt for taking this outrageous photo that makes me want to eat every last bite.

Lemon & Mocha’s favorite 10 recipes posted in 2014, starting at #10:

Coffee Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha
10. Coffee Ice Cream. Still reigning as my favorite ice cream posted on Lemon & Mocha.

Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha
9. Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies. A late addition to the 2014 posts, but these bad boys snuck in with a bang.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha
8. New England Harvest Salad. I love recreating my favorite restaurant dishes and this perfect salad is no exception.

Turkey & Manchego Panini with Sun-dried Tomato Mayo  |  Lemon & Mocha
7. Turkey and Manchego Panini with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo. This sandwich deserves a spot simply because I could eat it for days, and days, and days…

Crisp Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes & Asparagus  |  Lemon & Mocha
6. Crisp Gnocchi Salad with Shiitakes and Asparagus. Another restaurant recreation and a check off my kitchen bucket list:  homemade gnocchi!

Pineapple Bread Pudding  |  Lemon & Mocha
5. Pineapple Bread Pudding. This dish is extremely high on my list of new favorite recipes for 2014, thus it only makes sense to be in the Lemon & Mocha top 10.

Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese  |  Lemon & Mocha
4. Hobo Egg Grilled Cheese. Two of my favorite foods together at last, and it tastes so good.

Summer Berry Trifle  |  Lemon & Mocha
3. Summer Berry Trifle. Not only was this addictive and light, but I absolutely love the pictures from this post!

New England Classic Quesadilla  |  Lemon & Mocha
2. New England Classic Quesadilla. A remake of the legendary Boston College sandwich. It got high marks for its deliciousness, as well as its ability to bring me right back to Hillside.

Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms & Artichokes  |  Lemon & Mocha
1. Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms and Artichokes.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Smoked Salmon Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Salmon Dip.

Okay, so I know those are technically three posts, not one, but they all deserve the top spot. Not only are these three great recipes, but these were my three favorite posts of 2014. These three posts celebrate the amazing moms in my life and I loved getting to share them with my readers.

So that’s all, folks. Farewell, 2014! You were great, but we’re moving on to even bigger and better things in 2015! Happy New Year!

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love bringing desserts to parties, dinners and potlucks. I know I have a lot of outrageously tasty treats in my repertoire and are sure to have everyone swooning. But for some reason I always get a little panicky when someone asks me to bring an appetizer. There are so many different directions you can go in with an appetizer. Is it going to be hot? Cold? Cheesy? Meaty? Rich? Healthy? Crunchy? Creamy? Spicy? Does everyone like seafood? Are they averse to spinach? Doesn’t someone not like goat cheese? Is it going to pair well with what’s being served for dinner?

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

My mind runs on overdrive and I end up exhausted without being even a step closer to what I’m going to bring. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have found the solution. Cheesy corn dip with chorizo and green chiles. It is an instant favorite and is just so stinking good I can’t even stand it.

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Creamy and gooey, this dip has sweetness from the corn and a slight spiciness from the chorizo. The green chiles do not provide any heat and their flavor is similar to sauteed green bell peppers. You can make this dish as spicy or not spicy as you or your guests would like. I also made it with Portuguese sausage, linguica, which is not spicy at all. If your guests like it hot you can always add a few shakes of hot sauce. Serving with tortilla chips adds a salty and crunchy element.

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part? This dip is done after 7 minutes in the microwave. No wondering if there’s going to be space in the oven or if you’re going to have enough time to make it before all the guests arrive. Make it ahead, pop it in the microwave when you’re ready to eat it and you’re all set. This is perfect for New Year’s Eve, especially for those of you who are like me and have to work on New Year’s Eve and will most likely be sitting in traffic on the way home. Fun! So stop your appetizer stressing and make this addictive dip!

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip with Green Chiles
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ pound ground chorizo or linguica (Portuguese sausage)
  • 2 cups frozen corn, cooked
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 ¾ cups shredded Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
Directions
  1. Cook the ground meat in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked through and sizzling. Drain well on paper towels.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the cooked sausage, chiles, corn, 1 ½ cups of the shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise.
  3. Scoop the mixture into a 9” pie dish or an 8x8” baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to eat, uncover the dish, heat in the microwave for 7 minutes then serve with tortilla chips.
Notes
If you have a block of Monterey jack instead of shredded cheese you can take about 8 ounces of it and cut to a rough small dice.

Recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks.

Holiday Recipe Roundup

The holidays are officially upon us! I would normally say finally as there always seems to be so much build up, but this year flew by at record speed! I am really not sure how we have already arrived at Christmas week. If you are looking for some last minute Christmas recipes, or aren’t a crazy person like me that plans months in advance and is just decided your menu now, here are my favorite Lemon & Mocha recipes for the holidays. I hope it provides some inspiration or at least gives you something to drool over for a few minutes. Best wishes for happy holidays filled with love, health and happiness from the Lemon & Mocha family to your own!

Prosciutto & Gruyere Pinwheels  |  Lemon & Mocha

Prosciutto & Gruyere Pinwheels. These tasty bites will go fast, but you can make them ahead and keep them in the freezer so you will be all set to heat up another batch.

Baked Crab Dip  |  Lemon & Mocha

Baked Crab Dip. A family recipe and my favorite holiday appetizer. Cheesy and gooey are always qualities of a great crowd pleaser.

New England Harvest Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

New England Harvest Salad. Filled with vibrant winter flavors and superfoods, this salad will definitely impress your guests.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses & Vanilla Pecan Butter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Molasses and Vanilla Pecan Butter. More than looking like an ideal Christmas dish with the red and green colors, this side dish will be the star on your table.

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon, Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. A simple vegetable dish for even the pickiest of eaters!

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms  |  Lemon & Mocha

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms. I could eat 3 bowls of these bad boys. Make these now.

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with a Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dry Rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Sauce. Fool-proof Christmas dinner and tasty to boot.

Greek Yogurt Cornbread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Greek Yogurt Cornbread. All holiday meals require the perfect roll or bread to be lathered in butter. If you only bring one to your table make it this outrageously moist cornbread.

Lemon Cheesecake with a Cranberry Raspberry Compote  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Cheesecake with Cranberry Raspberry Compote. Beautiful and seconds-worthy.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies. How can you resist these festive fudgy brownies?

World's Smoothest Chocolate Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge. The original holiday favorite! Make my stepmom’s fudge recipe and you won’t even need to buy anyone presents. Yes, it is that good.

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge. A delightfully rich, yet refreshing twist on the original.

Egg Nog Ice Cream  |  Lemon & Mocha

Egg Nog Ice Cream. This isn’t your grandma’s ice cream. Scoop responsibly.

Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup  |  Lemon & Mocha

Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup. If you’re planning on having a big Christmas morning breakfast, these pancakes are amazing, but the blueberry syrup? Out of this world.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Pecan Butter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Pecan Butter. It’s the holidays, go ahead and have dessert for breakfast.

10 Minute Mini Breakfast Tacos  |  Lemon & Mocha

10 Minute mini Breakfast Tacos. Perfect for those who want a quick and tasty breakfast before diving into the presents.

 

Maple Walnut Blondies

Maple Walnut Blondies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today is part three of Lemon & Mocha’s holiday brownie extravaganza series! After this we are going to take a minor break from the brownies, but they will be back soon, I promise!

Maple Walnut Blondies  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I was looking over my brownies that I had dipped, drizzled, dunked and doused in chocolate I realized the brownies were missing their tasty counterpart: the blondie. A blondie is basically a chocolate-less brownie and I love them equally. Ok, maybe the chocolate lover in me likes brownies more, but blondies are also extremely tasty. Especially when they have chocolate chips.

Maple Walnut Blondies  |  Lemon & Mocha

But I am excited to say that these 100% chocolate-free blondies were one of my favorites from my brownie baking bonanza. Maple walnut blondies. They are chewy, with a bit of crunch from the walnuts, and have a very subtle maple flavor.

Maple Walnut Blondies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The recipe I used mentioned that using real maple syrup would have a more mild maple taste, while using maple flavored syrup would produce a pronounced maple blondie. I only had the real stuff in my fridge so that’s what I went with and a lot of people told me that they were pleasantly surprised by the subtly of the maple. So step away from the chocolate and make these delicious maple walnut blondies!

Maple Walnut Blondies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Maple Walnut Blondies
 
Yield: 16 blondies
Ingredients
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, half melted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups walnuts, chopped and divided
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x9” baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the butter, brown sugar and salt.
  3. Add ½ cup of the maple syrup and the egg, then stir to combine.
  4. Add the flour and baking soda, then stir to combine. Once completely combined, stir in 1 ½ cups of the walnuts.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup over the batter then swirl into the batter with the spatula. Evenly sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of walnuts onto the top.
  6. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the blondies are golden and just set in the center. Be sure not to overbake. Let blondies cool in the pan completely on a wire rack. Cut and serve.
Notes
For a subtle maple flavor, use real maple syrup. For a pronounced maple flavor, use maple flavored syrup.

Recipe from Serious Eats.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ever since I experimented with chocolate peppermint fudge last year, dark chocolate and peppermint has been added to my list of favorite dessert flavor combinations. Of course there is a list.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The decadent chocolate paired with the refreshing peppermint aftertaste is a nice break from all the rich desserts of the holiday season. Packing a triple peppermint punch, these fudgy brownies are for true peppermint lovers.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, peppermint extract is baked into the brownies. Second, when the hot and gooey brownies come out of the oven, peppermint bark is layered on top to melt in a thin layer. Third, crushed candy canes are sprinkled on the top to add a nice crunch, to make them look festive and of course to add extra peppermint flavor.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Thankfully Matt is all pepperminted out this season so I have our batch of these all to myself, lucky me!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The best part of these brownies, other than their deliciousness, is how fancy they look, but how simple they actually are to bake. So bake some up this holiday season, and remember to keep some for yourself!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
 
Yield: 16 brownies
Ingredients
  • 1 batch brownie batter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 6-8 squares peppermint bark, broken into chunks
  • 3 candy canes, crushed
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8” brownie pan and set aside. If you want thin brownies like mine then use a 9x13” pan instead with the same amount of brownie batter. This will give you 32 brownies instead of 16.
  2. Add the peppermint extract to the prepared brownie batter then pour into the prepared pan. Bake according to the package instructions, being sure not to overbake as brownies will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. I usually pull mine out 3-5 minutes before the package’s minimum baking time.
  3. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, run a knife around the edges then evenly top with the chunks of peppermint bark before covering the pan with tin foil so the chocolate can melt.
  4. After a few minutes, remove the tin foil then carefully spread the melty peppermint bark with a spatula in an even layer on top of the brownies. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top then refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened. Cut and serve.
Notes
I highly recommend using 1 package of Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix to make these.