Last year I put together a year-end round-up for the first time, and I enjoyed it so much I thought it would be fun to do again as 2011 comes to a close. I'm often surprised by which posts end up taking off once I hit publish, and this year was no exception! Today I'm recapping the most popular recipes I posted this year (these homemade croissants still hold the top spot of all time), and tomorrow I'll be back to share my favorites that didn't make the cut on this list.
I also wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your support this year. Today marks the 4th anniversary of this blog, and I'm so glad you're all along for the ride :) This year we crossed the 1000 post mark, which just blows my mind. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings!
On to the recipes...
11. Margarita Cupcakes - I really don't drink much, but I love boozy cupcakes! Brushed with tequila and topped with a tequila-lime buttercream, these are packed with flavor. They were the perfect way to kick off summer with a few friends this year.
10. The Easiest Homemade Caramel Sauce - If you've ever struggled to make caramel sauce, I urge you to give this a try. The trick? Your microwave! I made this recipe over and over this fall when I was working my way through the apples we picked at the orchard. It became impossible to eat apple slices that weren't dipped in caramel :)
9. Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - I love all things mint chocolate chip (especially ice cream and candles), but it never occurred to me to make a cupcake combining the flavors until earlier this year. I topped one of my favorite fluffy chocolate cupcakes with a sweet, minty buttercream and they were definitely a hit. Apparently my mom's coworkers (the recipients of most of them) still rave about these 9+ months later!
8. Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - When it comes to cookies, I prefer soft and chewy all the way, and apparently you guys do too! Of course, anytime you combine chocolate and peanut butter, it's bound to be a crowd pleaser so maybe that was the draw? Either way, these were one of my favorites this year too; I really loved the addition of the oats here for just a little bit of extra texture.
7. Nutella Marshmallow Turnovers - Buttery, flaky puff pastry. Creamy, rich Nutella. Mini marshmallows. Need I say more? Seriously, only three simple ingredients and totally worth every indulgent bite.
6. Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies - 2011 will go down as the year I fell in love with the whoopie pie. I've made at least six or seven variations, but this carrot cake version is the one you guys seemed most enamored with. I love that you could see the little specks of carrot in the fluffy cookies, and it certainly doesn't hurt that these were sandwiched around my very favorite cream cheese frosting.
5. Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos - I'm not exaggerating when I tell you we ate these taquitos at least once a week (often more) for months after I tried them for the first time. And why not? They're delicious, and really easy to whip up. You can even make them in advance and stick them in the freezer for another day.
4. Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread - I think just about every food blog I read has posted this bread, or some variation thereof. It's easy to see why, this is basically just a fun variation on a cinnamon roll, and who doesn't like those? There's a savory take on the bread floating around, and it's definitely part of my plans for 2012.
3. Homemade Wheat Thins - It would be fair to say I'm obsessed with learning to make homemade versions of things I'd normally buy pre-packaged at the grocery store. I never imagined crackers would be so easy, but I'm definitely glad they are because these disappeared in record time. And you won't believe how spot on the flavor is...
2. Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream - My mom loves strawberry cupcakes so I made these with her in mind, but we both wound up loving them. The strawberry swiss meringue buttercream is particularly irresistible - so silky and rich. These make me yearn to live somewhere like California where I could get perfectly ripe strawberries pretty much year-round!
1. Garlic-Rubbed Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes - It thrills me that this was the most popular recipe I posted this year because I think it is seriously worthy of the top spot. I think we all loved grilled cheese as kids, and this is just a slightly more sophisticated take on that childhood favorite. It's easily adaptable to your taste preferences or what you happen to have on hand too. If it weren't such a calorie bomb, I'd probably eat it for lunch several times a week :)
So, did any of your favorites make the list?? See you tomorrow for a list of my personal favorites!