A Year in Review: The Top Ten of 2016


This year is finally coming to a close. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a year that almost everyone I know was ready for it to be over. I can’t deny some great things happened this year, my nephew was born, we went on our honeymoon, our visit to San Francisco, some great times with friends, and other things peppered throughout the past twelve months.  But overall, this year has sucked a big one.  Between career things, personal things and political things I’m pretty ready for a fresh start.  Though I do find it a little weird that we hit January 1st and feel like it’s a fresh start, when really we could make that fresh start whenever we want. But there is something about hitting midnight on December 31st that makes you feel like we get to try again.  It brings new possibilities, new ideas, and the concept that life will hopefully continue to progress in a positive way.  I’m using this as a chance to name some of my favorite 2016 recipes I’ve made. I feel like I’ve learned so much with this blog in the past year, and I look forward to continuing to learn and to keep making delicious things. This was a hard list to make, certain things were my favorite for very different reasons, while others I think will live on these pages never to be made again. I wrote down some of my favorites, and also asked the Hubs for some of his, and with our powers combined we made this list.

So without further ado:

The Top 10 (for the most part) Recipes from 2016:

10. Cranberry Tart

This was one of the Hubs favorite. He doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth but when I made this dessert for our Thanksgiving dinner I struck gold.  The tartness balanced with the nutty tart shell is a great fall treat. Making it the second time around with a few minor adjustments made me love it more! 
Get the recipe here.

9. Chocolate & Orange Layer Cake

This was another dessert that my husband looked at me, looked at the dessert, and reached for a second bite….and a third.  I love the combination of orange and chocolate together and was really glad to achieve that in these three 6″ layers. Plus I’ve realized that orange curd is a gift from the dessert gods. 
Get the recipe here.

8. Sugar Cookies

Sometimes simple is best. The most basic of desserts can bring the most joy and I still think about these cookies, and I think I’ll actually make them this weekend.  There’s something about the soft butteriness and the sugar on the outside that makes these cookies addictive. After you make these, good luck keeping them around, or not eating them all yourself.
Get the recipe here.

7. Lavender Waffles

I played around with lavender a little this year, with great payoffs.  These waffles have a subtle floral flavor and with a little syrup and whipped cream on top will make any morning better.  Not to mention the batter is made the night before, so morning prep is cut to a minimum.
Get the recipe here.

6. Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I had a hard time picking a cupcake to put on this list.  I do love cupcakes, and the flavors I made in some of them couldn’t be more different from each other. But in the end, these had the most unique flavor combo and were so soft and the frosting…..ugh to die for. So these make the list.  If nothing else make this Speculoos Frosting for something, anything, eat it out of a bowl, whatever, just make it!
Get the recipe here.

5. Homemade Hot Pockets

Do you know me personally? If not, you should know I will never be able to give up my love for Hot Pockets.  I could eat them everyday if it was socially acceptable. But I don’t, and I decide to branch out from time to time.  However, I learned how to make my own, and this recipe creates enough Hot Pockets to freeze leftovers for later. It’s perfect.  Fill it with anything you want, and join my obsessive love of these savory baked pockets of goodness.
Get the recipe here.

4. Elvis Cake

I pictured this dessert in my head and it came out exactly like my mental picture.  It was so pretty, AND SO GOOD I ate as much as I could handle, and then pawned it off to friends, who devoured it.  I cannot wait to have a reason to make this again.
Get the recipe here.

3. No Bake Cheesecake

At my job, we serve a no-bake cheesecake, and it is so good. In the hot summer months thinking of turning on the oven is a bit of a nightmare with no central air. So it was time to figure out how to make something with zero oven involved.  And I did.  And it was incredible.  While summer is months away, I have a feeling I’ll find an excuse to make this (or some variation of it) sooner rather than later. (Fun fact, somehow this picture took wind on Instagram and received almost 900 likes. The internet is weird)
Get the recipe here.

2. Fig & Frangipane Tart

Talk about a crowd pleaser. This is a super fresh and delicious recipe that when I made it people lost their minds, which is always a good sign.  I found my love for frangipane because of this, and paired with fresh figs it is an ideal summer dessert.
Get the recipe here.

1. Concord Grape Pie

While this probably wasn’t everyone’s favorite, or you may be confused on my number one choice I stand by it 100%. The fresh bright flavor of these grapes are amazing and so potent.  It’s also such a different choice for pie filling, no one will see it coming.  It’s a little labor intensive but worth it. This pie is a must for me now. Buttery flakey crust, the flavor of grape in every bite, served warm or cold you will not be able to get enough. I promised myself I would make this pie this year and I did, and it was everything I dreamed it would be!! If somehow you find Concord grapes lying around your grocery store, snatch them up and make this pie immediately! If not, you’ll have to wait until next summer/fall.
Get the recipe here.

And that’s my 2016 round up. I did have a few honorable mentions such as: Olive Oil Cake, Spicy Chocolate Mousse, and Mango Coconut Tart.

This blog has been one of the constant ups in this year of many downs. It’s allowed me to learn so many new techniques, get better at old ones, I attended the BlogHer Food convention, was on my friends podcast and appeared on The Chew!! It’s been great to have this blog to bring so many nice moments into my life.  I hope it continues to do so.  

So what’s not on this list that you’re mad about?? Tell me your favorites!!

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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