Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best of 2014

Hello! I hope everyone had a very happy Christmas and a wonderful Hannukah.  I had a great Christmas this year- I celebrated Christmas Eve with more pasta and stuffed shellfish than anyone should ever have to consume (it was a really delicious endeavor), and my lazy at-home Christmas Day was perfect, complete with comfy sweatpants, a giant pot of picadillo, and rich brownies for dessert.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect holiday season, and I couldn't have asked for a better year. Lots of exciting changes took place, and I can't wait to see what changes await me next year.  I started a new job in publishing, took an amazing trip to Colombia, and am working on some exciting new projects.  They're top secret for now, but I hope to be able to share them soon!

The blog has been pretty quiet these past few days, and I've taken a break from social media as well.  I just wanted to recharge my batteries and get ready for a whole new year of baking, photography, and writing, and for e me, the best way to go about that was by unplugging.  I've been spending time with my family, catching up on missed sleep (still working on catching up on what I missed in college), and I've finally gotten around to binge-watching all of Gilmore Girls.  It's been nice to take a bit of a break from creating content for the blog, but I have been busy writing down ideas for next year's posts, and I can't wait to get started.  Make sure to stay tuned!

And with that, let's take a look back at some of the best posts from 2014.  It wasn't easy narrowing down the list- there's many posts that didn't make the cut, but I really think these are the most memorable, the most photogenic, and the most delicious.  They're the recipes you need to make sure to write down on your to-do list for 2015.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, and very happy new year.  Cheers to 2015!

Dulce de Leche Brownies- These brownies are my without question one of my favorite brownies ever.  I'm a sucker for anything with dulce de leche, and the swirls of golden caramel throughout really make the perfect complement to a rich brownie base.  If you're looking for a fuss-free and indulgent chocolate treat, look no further than these. 

Stuffed Soft Pretzel Bites- Who doesn't love a pretzel bites, right?  Who doesn't love stuffed pretzel bites? Exactly. There's nothing much better than a homemade pretzel, and even though they're a little time consuming to make, they're too adorable to pass up.  Make these for Super Bowl Sunday, and they'll disappear before you even know it. 

Chocolate Raspberry Tart- Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without a decadent chocolate dessert, and this tart fits the bill.  A chocolate pastry is filled with a rich mascarpone cream, raspberry jam, and topped with pretty swirls of chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries.  It's the perfect tart to split with your Valentine. 

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies- Valentine's Day is just as important for kids as it is for adults! Send them off to school with these red velvet cookies studded with red, white, and pink M&M's; it's a treat that grownups and little kids fall in love with. 

Fudge Stripe Cookies- If there's a cookie that screams nostalgia, it's these cookies.  I remember eating more Fudge Stripe cookies than anyone ever should when I was little, and the homemade version of these cookies was just so much better than I could have hoped for.  Eating these cookies made me feel like a little kid again!

Buttermilk, Berries, and Mascarpone Cream Cake- Out of every layer cake I've ever made, this one is by far my favorite. The most perfect vanilla buttermilk cake is layered with mascarpone whipped cream and mixed berries, and frosted in a pretty lavender frosting.   It's beautiful and delightful and celebrates spring better than any other treat could.  

Loaded Carrot Muffins- I love a good carrot cake or muffin, and these pack just about everything that goes well with a carrot treat into every bite.  Loaded with nuts and raisins and coconut and pineapple, these muffins are unbelievably moist and flavorful.  They're a must-have item for any spring brunch.

Buttermilk Vanilla Cake with Nutella Frosting- For my birthday, I normally make myself a treat packed with about as much chocolate as I can get away with; this year was different though.  This particular vanilla cake came about because of a major cake craving that I was having, a craving for a classic vanilla cake with chocolate frosting combo.  Pairing my favorite buttermilk vanilla cake with a not-too-sweet Nutella frosting made for one very happy birthday!

The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World- Without question, this is the best chocolate ice cream ever.  It was my very first venture into the world of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, and oh my goodness, this was the perfect flavor to start out with.  There is no better chocolate ice cream.  It's incredibly rich and creamy, and words do it no justice.  This is one ice cream you just have to experience for yourself. 

Salted Chocolate Diablo Ice Cream Sandwiches- This is another ice cream treat you just need to experience for yourself to believe.  Slightly spicy chocolate-ginger cookies sandwich creamy vanilla ice cream to make for a snack that really works all your tastes at once.  Spicy, sweet, hot, and cold, these ice cream sandwiches are the grown up version of your favorite treat as a kid.

Artpark Brownies-  What I loved most about these brownies was the fact that I couldn't really nail their texture.  I couldn't tell if they were cakey or fudgey, and I kept eating brownie after brownie, thinking that the more I ate, the easier it would be to determine whether or not they were cakey or fudgey.  Ultimately, I decided they were a bit of both, and that these brownies were really, really good. 

Cranberry and Pecan Praline Ice Cream- This ice cream was just amazing.  Packed with sugar plumped cranberries and a honey pecan praline, the ice cream combines all the flavors of fall into a single bite.  Ice cream is just as good a dessert as apple pie during the fall, and they're even better if they're paired together. 


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