December 23, 2012
Another year is almost in the books! And what a year it has been. There have been so many highlights over the past 12 months, from seeing Food Blogging For Dummies on store shelves to celebrating the fourth anniversary of the site.
And then there are the recipes, 71 to be exact, ranging from breakfast favorites and finger-friendly snacks to 30-minute dinners and fruit-filled desserts. Join me on a trip down memory lane as I countdown to 2013 with the Top 10 most popular recipes of 2012…
December 19, 2012
Gingerbread houses may have met their match last week in the form of Christmas Tree Cupcakes, but with just six days left until ol’ Saint Nick monopolizes the nation’s cookie supply, it’s time for gingerbread to have its moment in the dessert spotlight. Traditional holiday flavors take on a new shape in this kicked up Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake drizzled with vanilla glaze.
We’re all about tradition at my family’s Christmas table, which means age-old favorites like 24-Hour Salad and Veggie Bars—two recipes that have been in my family for more than 50 years—will make their standard appearances. But this year the dessert table is getting a welcome makeover with a pop of color provided by Homemade Holiday Lollipops and a punch of flavor from this deeply rich cake. In the words of Sir (Stand) Mix(er)-a-Lot, I like big bundts, and I cannot lie.
December 12, 2012
Gingerbread houses, meet your match. These festive Christmas Tree Cupcakes serve a similar function as part dessert, part decoration for your holiday table. Moist chocolate cupcakes become the base of spruced up sugar cones adorned with bright green frosting, edible silver sprinkle ornaments and, the piece de resistance, a light dusting of powdered sugar snow.
Just imagine an entire forest of these edible trees lining your holiday table or surrounding a gingerbread house, adding a pop of color and flavor alongside each cookie wall. I will leave you with that wistful visual, my friends, as I return to my unsolicited caroling of N*SYNC’s entire Christmas album while counting down the minutes – 20,143 to be exact – until my family members from San Diego, Chicago, Dubai and beyond congregate in Colorado to celebrate the season and taste our way into 2013.
December 8, 2012
What better gift to give this holiday season than one that can be eaten? Of course the traditional fruitcake has its place among the festivities. And in my opinion, that place happens to be nowhere.
Fruitcake aficionados, please do disagree with me. But while I’m all for efficiency, I’ve never understood the allure of a confection that does double duty as a paperweight-slash-doorstop. That’s why I turn to classic homemade candy as the ultimate edible gift for giving or receiving.
These crystal clear lollipops are made with just two ingredients, leaving the door wide open for customization when it comes to the colorful add-ins. I’ve opted for seasonal sprinkles, but you could also decorate them with crushed candy canes, chopped nuts or dried cranberries. And don’t forget to stir in your favorite flavorings, such as cherry or strawberry extract.
Are you ready to give the gift of good taste this season? Tie together a bundle of these easy-to-make homemade lollipops, or opt for individually-wrapped Salted Caramels, Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks or a tin of Chocolate-Dipped Brown Sugar Shortbread.
December 5, 2012
The arrival of December 1 officially kicks off my holiday baking binge, as I single-handedly strive to keep the flour, sugar and butter purveyors in business. My oven transforms from an everyday kitchen appliance into a holiday cookie-making machine, cranking out dozen after dozen of Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Rugelach and Espresso Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies, while I’m busily stirring and shaping my signature sweet, Marshmallow Christmas Wreaths.
I’m a huge fan of sandwich cookies, and since free association seems to lead a majority of the dessert decisions on this site, it may come as no surprise that the thought process behind these bad boys went a little something like this:
Eating lunch → toasted peanut butter and jelly → favorite sandwich → excited about holiday baking → I wonder if… → Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies.
Welcome to my world.
Free association aside, these Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies pair chewy peanut butter cookies with your choice of jelly for the ultimate edible gift this holiday season.
I’m a longtime fan of Sarabeth’s Preserves, particularly the strawberry-raspberry flavor, but feel free to spread and snack on whatever flavored jelly you have stashed in your fridge. And don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to the cookie cutters. Stars, squares, hearts, snowflakes—they all make for sandwich-worthy shapes.