Another year has brushed passed me just as quickly as a stranger on a busy street. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, with both good and bad memories now in the bank. The very best thing to happen to me in 2011 was the birth of Smart Cookie. I believe my life has truly changed as a result. I’ve been able to take my devoted passion for food and channel it into something that I can share with the world. I can only hope that 2012 will allow me to continue my mission in bigger, tastier ways. I would love for Smart Cookie to continue to grow while I grow as both a chef and a writer. Food and I are bound together in a life-long journey. Hopefully, it will lead to a career that will allow me to share my love for food with the world on an even grander scale than I do now. Regardless of what 2012 brings, I will continue to bring you daily deliciousness. I hope you’ll follow Smart Cookie into the new year & the years to come!
So with that, let us ring in the new year right with my 12 absolute favorite recipes of the year.
In no particular order:
This is the best Eggplant Parm out there, without a doubt. The eggplant is fried and crispy, the sauce is flavorful with a fiery kick, and there is an unreal amount of gooey, melty cheese. Fresh, good-quality ingredients and three kinds of cheese are the key to this dish’s deliciousness.
I love these cute, tasty Pancake Poppers! With a golden exterior & fluffy interior, these are everything you love about pancakes in an poppable, dippable shape! Stuff ‘em with chocolate chips & serve ‘em up with syrup for a fun and delicious breakfast.
This indulgent pasta dish resulted from my need for something comforting and cheesy. Blushing Mozzarella Marinara starts with a creamy, kickin’ blush sauce that’s bursting with flavor. Then, mounds of freshly shredded mozzarella are mixed in for melty, cheesy perfection.
Party Bread has literally been one of my all-time favorite foods for as long as I can remember. I eat it every Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve, and it is truly heavenly. Sourdough bread gets cut up like a checkerboard so guests can tear off pieces. The whole loaf is stuffed with monterey jack cheese then covered in butter, fresh scallions, and poppy seeds. It is to die for.
PB & J Tiramisu combines two beloved treats in one. Peanut butter and jelly is a classic, irresistible combo. It’s made all the more better by being fused together with Tiramisu. This heavenly dessert consists of layers of PB mousse, raspberry-soaked ladyfingers, and chocolate shavings.
These Soft Pumpkin Cookies are a Fall-time staple in my house. They are some of the best cookies I’ve had. So insanely soft, moist, and delicious. Top it off with butterscotch frosting for an extra sweet treat.
Pumpkin S’mores are the greatest hybrid dessert to come under my radar. It takes my two all-time favorites, pumpkin and s’mores, and combines them together in one gooey, chocolatey, sublime treat.
Cheesy Potato Soup Bread Bowls are the ultimate winter comfort food. This is easily my favorite soup ever. Using a mix of American and Cheddar cheese makes it different than any other potato soup I’ve tried. It is SO creamy and cheesy. Plus, serving it up in a bread bowl makes it all the more indulgent & fun to eat!
These are the best Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ve ever had, no contest. They are so thick, soft, chewy, and packed with chocolate that they seem more like a product of my dreams than reality. But they are real. And they are unbelievably delicious. Whoever said there’s no such thing as perfection has never tried these cookies.
I have tried an unfathomable amount of mac & cheeses, and so far, this Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese is my favorite. It does not taste like squash; the squash merely provides depth of flavor and a comforting quality that you will not find in traditional mac & cheese. The sauce is perfectly creamy and cheesy, a texture I’ve yet to achieve in any other mac & cheese. It’s delicious.
Whenever I go to a restaurant, I order Spinach Artichoke Dip as an appetizer. That being said, no restaurant has ever come close to this amazing Spinach-Artichoke Dip. It has the perfect thick but creamy texture that’s abundant with ooey gooey cheese. What really takes it to the next level is the flavorful kick provided by the addition of Rotel.
This Eggnog-Christmas Cookie Milkshake is one of my greatest culinary creations. It takes everything you love about Christmas and blends it into one thick and creamy frozen treat. We’re talking eggnog and crushed up Christmas cookies all in one sip!
I hope you enjoyed these recipes as much as I did. There will be plenty more deliciousness to come in 2012!