Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back at 2011

Resolutions are made to be broken!  In my case, resolutions are made to be gleefully ignored, stomped on, and tossed out the window the minute something shiny comes along.  So this will not be my wrap-up post detailing how I fulfilled my 2011 Culinary Resolutions.  Nope.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.

Okay, wait, come back.  Just for a bit.  Let's talk about what I did accomplish, what I've learned, and what tasty treats I've unleashed onto the world in 2011.  (That's more like it!)

Favorites of 2011
I went with a top 5.  I couldn't exclude any of these recipes, all of which were made for the first time in 2011.  These are JennyBakes approved, five-star, guaranteed recipes.  Each numbered item links directly to the recipe, so click away!

1. Gramercy Tavern's Gingerbread
I realize I just posted about this, but it was seriously good.  This is why holiday baking posts are so difficult; I find something we love that I have to make again, and I run out of space to make new desserts.  Add this one to the repeat pile!

2. Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
These were amazing and quite a visual treat, but the real reason they were on this list is that I started hearing about them at work.  One student said a professor talked about them in class, and another professor came into my office to thank me for the recipe.  (Hi friends!)  You know pancakes are good when they get brought up in music theory class!

3. Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies
Ha!  When I first started this blog post, I realized I never ever blogged these, which explains why you see an early 12/31 post for Christmas cookies.  This was another recipe that I heard about for days after I brought them to work.  There were theories that I used fancy butter (nope, I always buy the cheap generic stuff!), and when I shared the recipe I got weird reactions like "I'll never be able to make them like you."  People.  Don't be afraid of baking.  They are just sugar cookies with stuff in them. 

4. Red Wine Chocolate Cake
The second recipe in my top five from the Smitten Kitchen blog (seriously excited to own her cookbook when it comes out!), and another cake with rave reviews.  In fact, this might be my personal favorite of the list.  I loved the way the red wine elevated the chocolate, and the texture of this cake was also fantastic. 

5. Rosemary Shortbread
I first tasted this at a work function (we have a lot of people who love to cook!), and I hearby apologize to shortbread for thinking I didn't like it.  This recipe proves me wrong.  I can still taste it ....

Oh how I've learned!
I may not have learned about fondant like I'd planned, but I did get a chance to meet a local chocolate maker and play with his chocolate in recipes.  That was a highlight of the year!  I also did a lot more alternative baking - vegan, gluten-free, and trying to make things set up with agar-agar.  I hope I can keep challenging myself to be more adept at those kinds of recipes, since there seem to be an increasing number of people who identify with those dietary choices.  

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