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The Best of 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

I know this gets said every year, but man, how is it December 31 already?  Being that I still have a few hours before 2016 hits, I thought it'd be fun to flashback to some of my favorite posts from this year.

  1. Ben and Codie's Wedding.  This past May, I supplied a mini-dessert bar and a 3-tiered wedding cake for two of my best friends.  Leading up to the event, I was able to practice each dish and learn how best to present each dessert.  It was a huge learning experience and definitely the highlight of the summer.
  2. Pains au Chocolat and Croissants.  I'm so glad that I gave this recipe another shot before this year was over.  As you may recall from the post, I've tried different versions of croissant dough before, and they've been a mess.  Now kitchen disasters usually aren't the worst thing, but when the recipe is as time-consuming as croissants are, it's a little tougher to accept failure and start again.  Thanks to one of my newest cookbook additions though, I can now cross croissants off of my list.
  3. 2015 World Food Championships.  This past November marked my first time in Florida, as well as my first "big time" cooking competition.  Although certain aspects of the competition were filled with some unexpected stress, I learned quite a lot and am proud to add the event to my growing culinary resume.
  4. Journey to the 2015 World Food Championships.  I of course have to mention the competitions that led up to the WFC if I'm going to mention the WFC on this list.  This summer was filled with making a PB&J burger at Chicago's Bull Burger Battle, some flambĂ©ed bacon caramel sundaes and candied drunken ribs at Sun Prairie's Bacon, Brew, & BBQ Fest, and a take on coffee and doughnuts at River Falls' Bacon Bash.
  5. Yeast Doughnuts.  If you find a new doughnut recipe to replace an already solid post on the blog, you better believe it's going to make this list.  Light and spiced with a hint of nutmeg, Alton Brown's recipe takes the prize this year.  Now I just need to find the perfect doughnut icing recipe...
  6. French Macarons.  As was true with croissants, French macarons have been on my list of advanced baking recipes to try for quite a while now.  Although there is quite a list of crucial steps to follow, I'd like to say that the research I did ahead of time paid off for my first attempt at these cookies.
  7. Homemade Pasta.  Although there's nothing wrong with store-bought pasta, a successful homemade pasta dish is so worth making if you have a little extra time to kill.  As Thomas Keller explains, his recipe is superior mainly because it's impossible to overwork the dough due to the high amount of egg yolks used.  Being that it can be made in advance (and froze) and cooks in a matter of minutes, why not give homemade pasta a try?
  8. Kitchen Equipment and Gadgets.  Since I started writing culinary lessons a few years ago, I've found that posts related to equipment selection has been most beneficial to readers.  In this post, you'll find out my personal recommendations for knives, thermometers, sheet pans, and more.
  9. Glossy Chocolate Icing.  Looking at the stats for individual posts, it's clear that people love their chocolate cake and icing.  And I don't blame them.  As someone who isn't the biggest cake lover, I could eat chocolate 'crazy cake' with glossy chocolate icing any day of the week.
  10. Ultimate Mashed Potatoes.  It may sound simple, but you can't underestimate the importance of a solid mashed potato recipe.  After a 4-year hiatus, a new-and-improved recipe has made its return to the blog this year.
And there you have it; 2015 can be summed up by weddings, food competitions, advanced baking, and good ol' mashed potatoes.  Here's to almost five years of AFC and the welcomed mystery of what's to come in 2016.

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  1. Nice round up—wow, what a year! Can't wait to see what 2016 will bring!

  2. Diddo what Rebe said. Keep up the good works.