Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 Year in Review: My Favorites

I truly enjoyed perusing the recipes I shared with you last year and seeing which ones were most popular among you, the readers!  I'd have to say, just like in 2014, our tastes were along the same lines last year; beverages and sweets seemed to top my list too!  However, there were some of my favorites that didn't quite make the cut so I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of my favorites with you all!

Without further adieu, here are some of my faves from 2015.

One of my favorite desserts is the cannoli.  It's a simple, crunchy pastry shell that is filled with a delicious pastry cream and sometimes the ends are dipped in chocolate chips or melted chocolate.  There aren't just a ton of places that carry this dessert, so I don't get to enjoy it all that much...until now.  This cannoli cheeseball takes that amazing pastry cream filling, simplifies it (no heat or pans required), it gets rolled in a ball then then coated in chocolate chips.  I could face dive in this stuff, but I didn't, I used the next best thing, graham crackers to dunk into that amazing dip!

I have a weakness for all sweets, but brownies take that weakness to a whole new level.  I've always been a sucker for anything chocolate, but when it's a brownie...well, all bets are off.  Give me a pan of brownies straight from the oven and a fork and I'll be content in my own little corner for about an hour.  I go weak in the knees for those chocolaty, fudgy, stick-to-your-teeth brownies.  In 2015 I found my new "go to" recipe; these Thick and Chewy {Better than} Bakery Style Brownies.

I love those meals that assemble in a matter of minutes and even better when the crockpot does all the work.  This slow cooker honey mustard chicken checks those boxes and then some.  It requires a few simple ingredients, comes together in minutes and yields a perfectly moist and flavorful meal that the whole family loves.

A morning cup of coffee is an absolute must for me.  I very rarely go to coffee shops for my morning cup of joe, but there are days where I'd like something a little more indulgent than my basic coffee.  On those mornings I typically turn to this salted caramel brulee coffee.  This, my friends,is the way to start your day!

I haven't met anyone that doesn't love a big ol' slice of carrot cake slathered in cream cheese frosting.  What's not to love; moist cake packed full of warm spices and all wrapped with tangy, cream cheese frosting?  But, I was beyond giddy with this creation.  A flaky, carrot cake crust with all those warm spices, baked then filled with a tangy, smooth cream cheese filling.  A delicious twist on that infamous favorite. Carrot cake cream cheese tart

I've never been a huge fan of pimento cheese, until now.  I'm not sure what it is that makes this pimento cheese so different and soooo good, but it's converted me.  Take all those pimento cheese skeptics out there and feed them a spoonful of Capitol Bar and Grill's pimento cheese.  Terrific on a spoon, cracker or sandwiched between to fluffy pieces of bread.

Along with brownies, cookies are one of my major weaknesses.  So what happens if those worlds collide?  Well, only one of the richest, fudgiest, most decadent cookies ever.  This rocky road flourless cookie is packed full of gooey marshmallows, crunchy almonds, and intense chocolate flavor.  This cookie is a life changer.  Seriously.

Everyone needs a "go to" biscuit recipe.  One that rises perfectly, yields a slightly crunchy outside and a soft, fluffy inside.  I found that recipe this year; these easy biscuits are all of those things and so simple to make.  Welcome those weekends breakfasts with these delicious biscuits.

Who doesn't love sneaking a scoop of cookie dough straight from the bowl?  I know I am very guilty of that and I honestly have no shame.  But for all of you out there who need a peace of mind when eating cookie dough I have just the thing for you.  These salted chocolate chip cookie dough bars provide you with an egg free cookie dough that is spread over a delicious sugar cookie crust and topped off with a rich, chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of salt.  I'm thinking I need to make these again so very soon.

It's hard to beat a good cobb salad.  But this cobb salad has the addition of juicy, bbq chicken along side fiesta corn and buttery avocado.  This is one of our favorite salads.  BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

The worlds of sweet and salty collide in these caramel popcorn treats.  Buttery, slightly salty popcorn coated in buttery, marshmallowy caramel.  Just like mixing your popcorn and sweets at the movies...only so much better.Caramel popcorn crispy treats

This dip, my friends, is like summer in a skillet.  Fresh corn grilled enough to give a slight char then mixed with poblanos, sour cream, lime and topped with chives.  It's colorful, flavorful and so addicting.  Grilled corn and chile dip

I can always judge just how good a meal is by the way the hubs responds.  And well, this roast was a homerun!  It was love at first bite for him and he raved about it for days.  Again, it's another one of those recipes that requires a few ingredients and the slow cooker does all the work.  Say hello to this Mississippi Roast.

The cold weather has been a little slow on showing up this winter, but on those few cold days we've had there's been no better way to warm up than with a mug of this salted caramel hot cocoa.  This mix makes a lot, making it idea for gifts as well as to keep some on hand when you need a little mug of cozy goodness.

Biscotti is one of my guilty pleasures for breakfast.  I resist making it on a regular basis because I could honestly eat my weight in the stuff.  But when the holidays rolled around I decided I could give into temptation and whip up a batch.  The flavor profile was all the doings of my little man; a mint and chocolate fanatic.  I'm not sure who love the stuff more!  So when you need a special treat or need to indulge whip up a batch of this chocolate peppermint biscotti.

Well friends, that's a wrap!  I tried to keep my list to 10, but I just kept coming across recipes that took me back to that first bite and I just had to relive the magic one more time!  The list could go on forever, but I decided it was in everyone's interest to give myself a 15 recipe limit.

2015 was a fun year and I enjoyed taking another look at everything that had taken place over the past year on LL's.  I can't wait to see what delectable treats come along in 2016!

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