Monday, December 30, 2013
Best of 2013: Desserts
It might be hard to believe if you visit around the holidays, but normally, we don't eat dessert often at our house. Certainly, it's not with every meal or even every week. But every now and then, it's nice to have a really good sweet treat. Not some "light" diet-oriented dessert. Uh-uh. I'm talking something satisfying and decadent. I'd rather have dessert only every now and then and have it be incredible than have low-cal desserts all the time.
Cakes and Pies
I loved this unique Coffee Cake with Coffee Frosting from a recipe by The Pioneer Woman was the perfect winter treat, while Melissa Clarks' recipe for Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon-Pepper Syrup was just as good for summer. Another unusual but tasty cake was the Gin & Tonic Cake, inspired by my favorite cocktail. For out-and-out decadence, nothing tops this Chocolate Truffle Cake, from a recipe by Chef Naomi Pomeroy.
For Thanksgiving, I was blown away by Fine Cooking's recipe for Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart. And my Apple Custard Pie with Gingersnap Cookie Crust was my effort to combine the best of apple pie and pumpkin pie into one holiday treat.
I didn't make as much ice cream this year, but when I did, I went for interesting, seasonal flavors. Last winter, I created the By the Fire Sundae with maple-bacon ice cream, a brown butter blondie, caramel and smoky whipped cream. In the spring, taking advantage of my favorite herb, I made Mint-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. And in the summer, I discovered that sweet corn is just as great for dessert as a dinner side in Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Blackberry Sauce.
For lovers of ice cream pie, there's also this wonderfully festive Cereal Milk Ice Cream Pie with Compost Cookie Crust, an ode to the creative ideas of Momofuku Milk Bar Chef Christina Tosi (whose cookbook I got for Christmas--so look for more Momofuku treats next year).
As usual, December featured lots of cookie recipes. My favorite were the Molasses Sandwich Cookies with lemon filling (we paired it with Almond Lace Cookies in this year's Dallas Desserts Holiday Bakeoff with Dallas Decoder). I also shared a recipe for Chocolate Saltine Bark, a longtime simple holiday favorite.
Another first this year: I attempted to create several original cookie recipes. My favorite were the Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies, which were like three great cookies rolled into one.