It feels like just yesterday I was turning 23 in January, partying it up in Miami in May, and meeting my idol Betsey Johnson in September. Yet here we are in December and I’m a little confused… but also really grateful for another chance to start fresh. (Read: that does not mean start dieting… oh hell nah).
This was a big year for me. I met lots of new friends and old ones at blog conferences in Anaheim, Miami, and San Jose; I became a brand ambassador for Hamilton Beach and for the California Milk Advisory Board; I started writing my first cookbook, and I got to meet two of my biggest idols evereverever, the aforementioned Betsey and the fabulous author, Jenny Lawson. I’d say it was a pretty good year!
And despite all those successes, I still managed to bake some things. And by ‘some’, I mean I baked like a friggin’ maniac, dude. Whirlwinds of sugar and sprinkles and chocolate went in and out of my kitchen faster than you could say “yummo.” And while all of my concoctions were wonderful, there were some that just shined brighter. Show-offs.
Here are my favorites of 2014! I hope you find some new favorites yourselves, or you agree with me! 🙂
Turtle Seven Layer Bars: these bad boys are loaded with all the flavors of turtles in an easy, portable, highly-addictive gooey bar. I dieddddd over the caramel + pecan combination.
Glazed Donut Pie. Fun fact about this pie — it was a complete and utter afterthought. I did my grocery shopping for that week’s worth of baking, but as I was leaving the store with groceries in hand, I happened to think up this recipe. I put my bags in the trunk and ran back in the store to grab the ingredients. I’m so glad I did, because this is one of my most popular recipes, it has gained notoriety with Good Morning America, BuzzFeed and Huffington Post, aaaaand it’s freakin’ delish. So there’s that.
The Best One-Hour Cinnamon Rolls. Seriously, start to finish in one hour? Dunzo. These rule, and stay tuned for a new spin on this old favorite coming to the blog soon!
Copycat Cosmic Brownies: aka, your childhood. You’re welcome. These brownies are every bit as chocolaty, fudgy and outrageously addictive as you remember. And they’re easily one of my most popular recipes from 2014! No one can resist a childhood flashback like these.
So-Easy Sopapillas. These “fake-out” sopapillas taste identical to the delicious ones I used to get at the local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joint in my neighborhood. They’ll soon become a family favorite of yours, too! I make these regularly because let’s face it, no one can resist buttery fried dough smothered in cinnamon sugar. NO ONE.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cookies. These, kind of like the Glazed Donut Pie, were also somewhat of an afterthought. I happened to pass the dates in the canned fruit aisle and remembered this classically British dessert… but I transformed it into an ooey gooey, sticky toffee pudding cookie that became one of my favorites. These were SO amazing, people.
Cookie Dough Seven Layer Bars. Because just one, two, three, six flavors of cookie dough just isn’t enough. These bars are the ultimate for any cookie dough lovah!
Frosting-Filled Deep Dish Cake Batter Cookies. A mouthful to write, but also to eat. You can have your cake, icing, and cookies and eat them together, too! These are a very popular recipe on my blog and have exploded all over Pinterest. Do yourself a solid and make them! But remember: they do require a whoopie pie or muffin top pan which is so worth the extra $5 to make these phenomenal deeeeeep dish cookies.
Oreo Overload Cake. Aka, the grooviest Oreo cake you’ll ever sink your teeth into, homie. The cookies & cream whipped filling is good enough to eat with a spoon, but if you’re able to resist, the final product with the layers of fabulous Oreo goodness is a great and tasty pay-off.
Cosmic Cupcake Ice Cream. You’d be surprised how stupidly-easy it is to make homemade ice cream without a machine. But you’d be even more gobsmacked to know how DELISH chocolate cupcakes are when they’re mashed into said-homemade-ice-cream. This takes Little Debbie’s Cosmic Cupcakes to the next level!
Fudgy Peanut Butter Cookie Brookies; you can do no wrong. Super fudgy, ultra gooey, and reminiscent of a giant, soft and pillowy peanut butter cup, these addictive sweet-and-salty bars are positively dreamy. Just don’t blame me when you polish off the entire pan (I already tried that trick and it didn’t work).
Kopycat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are, in a word, AMAZING. They taste nearly identical to the fabulous hot-light donut shop’s classic BUT they’re made with a secret ingredient: canned biscuits! Light, fluffy, crispy and coated in that addictive, syrupy-sweet glaze, you won’t be able to stop at one. Or need to put pants on to buy a dozen. Bonus.
The Best Soft & Chewy Cranberry White Chip Cookies. Dude, this combination can do no wrong. Bright, tart cranberries and sweet white chocolate are a match made in cookie heaven, and these really *are* the best it gets. Love.
Walnut Chocolate Chip Levain-Style Cookies. Since we all can’t live next to Levain Bakery in NYC (so unfair), these are an excellent substitution. HUGELY thick and loaded with buttery, nutty walnuts and chocolate chips, they’re absolutely satisfying when they come out of the oven all hot and gooey… and a helluva lot cheaper than a plane ticket to the Upper West Side.
Peppermint Crunch Pretzels. You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat peppermint, and these pretzels are no exception! Sweet and salty, they’re loaded with lots of minty fresh peppermint chunks and are smothered in rich chocolate. To-die for, really.
The Best Snowball Cookies. Yes, yes yes. Need I say more? My favorite cookie, ever. Period. End of story.
Salted Caramel Butter Bars; will you marry me? Forrealz, these stole my heart and also an inch of my waist. I love them to pieces for their salty, buttery crust and crumb and that luscious caramel in the center. Absolutely irresistible.
Deep Dish Salted Caramel Apple Pie. Apple pie is one of those things, like pearl necklaces and Elvis Christmas music, that will never go out of style no matter what crazy, trendy crap comes along. This version is slightly updated with a huge smothering of salted caramel, but otherwise it’s your same ol’ delicious apple pie, just deep-dishified for an extra special-delicious touch.
Bailey’s Twinkie Tiramisu. I sure do love me some Twinkies, and this tiramisu is made extra-special by using them in place of ladyfingers and by spicing things up with some Bailey’s liqueur. You won’t believe how easy and awesome this dessert is!
Oatmeal Creme Pie Magic Bars. Oh, Oatmeal Creme Pies. I sure do love your wrinkly oatmeal face. And I really love you when you play dress up in these magical bars that are loaded with tons of awesome OCP flavah.
The Best Blueberry Muffins. I wouldn’t lie to you, people. These really are, in my humble, honest and correct opinion, the best. Moist, soft, fluffy, delicious and LOADED with bright, bursting blueberries, they have a huge top thanks to a special baking secret and are topped with crystal sugar which adds an addictive, lovely crunch. You won’t wanna miss this recipe!
And lastly, The Best-Ever Banana Bread. Folks, it doesn’t get any moister, scrumptious, easy or fabulous than this recipe here. The secret ingredient, pudding mix, makes this bread ultra-moist and fantastic. And I’m positively smitten over the crunchy cinnamon and brown sugar streusel-esque topping which adds great texture and flavor. This is a winning bread recipe, people — and come on, you only want the best for your rotting bananas, am I right?
Well guys, thanks for reading and THANK YOU for following along with me on this crazy-fantastical/awesome journey of 2014. I’m sad to see it end, but happy to see what 2015 brings. And don’t worry; more awesomeness will be coming your way in 2015, so keep following along for more insane anecdotes and stories, and of course, more delicious Domestic Rebel Recipes 🙂
Happy New Year!!