Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008: The year in review

Happy New Year, everyone!  Here's hoping that 2009 will be a happy and healthy year for all of you.  I've been fortunate enough to "meet" and become friends with some really wonderful people during this past year.  I really appreciate all of you who read and comment on my blog.  

In my Blogiversary post, I mentioned that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite posts from the past year.  Since I started my blog a week before the start of 2008, it works out for me to do a year-in-review post for the calendar year.  I had fun looking back, seeing how much I've progressed in the past year.  My photography has gotten much better--finding the macro button and indoor light setting on my camera helped a lot!  I realized that this was going to be a baking blog, rather than a general cooking blog.  I didn't really plan it that way, but baked goods are what I really enjoy writing about.  I also defined my writing style somewhat.  I tried some posts with process pictures, but I prefer to photograph the finished products.  And I've had fun figuring out how to plate and garnish things.

Some months I only picked one recipes, others I picked two or three.  I wanted to get some of my favorite pictures in, as well as the recipes.  So here goes...

January marked the first appearance of my kiddos on my young blog.  Brianna, in particular, likes to help me with things like cracking eggs and drizzling icing.  And sampling the finished products, of course. =)  Here we made her favorite Coffeecake Muffins.  

February is when I joined Tuesdays with Dorie, after seeing one of the great recipes from Baking From My Home to Yours on Peabody's blog.  To date, one of my favorite recipes that we've made is the Almost Fudge Gateau.  

February is also when I stumbled across the Daring Bakers.  I sent in my request to join, but my first recipe wouldn't be until March.  But I did try my hand at an earlier challenge, Bagels.  

March included some great new accomplishments.  I had my first experience with butter-laden yeast dough and flaming fruit with alcohol in the Brioche Raisin Snails.  

And my first Daring Bakers challenge was also a Dorie recipe--the Perfect Party Cake.

More Tuesdays with Dorie baking for April.  I started to play around with the recipes more.  A good example is when I made mini Lemon Cream Tarts.  I love the way the filling looks, swirled into the mini tart shells.

And I had a lot of fun decorating Bill's Big (or Small) Carrot Cake.  The cream cheese frosting worked well for the decorations.

May gave me an excuse to buy new bakeware.  Who could pass up an adorable mini madeleine pan? =)  I got to play around with the flavoring on these, adding some spices.  

And I picked up a new 7-inch springform pan to make a smaller version of the Peanut Butter Torte.  More fun with piping, too!

In June, I got to pick a recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie!  French Chocolate Brownies seemed like a great idea, since we hadn't had many chocolate recipes.  And it gave me another chance to make rum raisins. =)

I also started following the blog from King Arthur Flour, which is where I found the recipe for this wonderful Stuffed Cheese Bread.  Yes, it tasted as good as it looks. 

And I can't forget about my favorite Daring Bakers challenge of the year, Danish Braids.  It's probably a good thing I haven't made one since--I'd be tempted to eat the whole thing.  

For July, I want to highlight another Daring Bakers challenge, the Filbert Gateau.  I got to try several new things this month.  Like figuring out how the heck to get the skins off hazelnuts.  =)  I played with dry caramel (I'm used to starting with water and sugar, not just sugar) to make praline, which was used to make some of the best buttercream I've ever tasted.  Wow.

August was a month for ice cream, including this delicious Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream.  

I love reading other food blogs to find new inspiration.  In September, Mary the Food Librarian blogged about these amazing Breakfast Buns, and I immediately decided I had to make them too.

And I got to make my first Tuesdays with Dorie post away from home.  I made these decadent Chocolate Chunkers while we were in Pennsylvania for my sister's wedding.

I made my biggest mess in October, while making caramel for the Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake.  The cake itself was so-so, but the caramel is a keeper.

And we celebrated Gillian's birthday with Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.

November brought pumpkin.  (Okay, actually it started in October.)  And my favorite pumpkin recipe this year was this Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Which brings us to December.  I actually made Dorie's All Occasion Sugar Cookies a couple of times.  They were a big hit with Brianna's kindergarten class.

Well, if you've made it this far, thanks for reviewing 2008 with me.  I can't wait to see what 2009 brings.  More bread, for sure.  And hopefully croissants.  And macarons.  And who knows what other delicious baked goods.  Happy New Year!


  1. Wow! What a roundup! You have some so many delicious items. I have enjoyed reading about it throughout the year and look forward to next year! Happy 2009!

  2. The round-up is so much fun to read. You've done some great baking and your pictures are always attractive. I'm sure 2009 will bring lots more baking adventures! Maybe I'll do a round-up for my blogiversary (in July)

  3. Happy Blogiversary! Happy New Year! And Congratulations! What a terrific round-up. You're such a talented baker -- everything you've made is really beautifully done. I hope 2009 will be another sweet year for you -- Dorie

  4. Great post, Di! Happy New Year to you and your family. And look at that...a comment from Dorie herself?!?! Awesome!

    It's been great getting to know you and your family through your blog. I look forward to more fun in 2009!


  5. Happy New Year, Di! I loved reading your year in review! I thoroughly enjoyed your blog in 2008, and am looking forward to more great kitchen fun from you in 2009!

  6. I love round ups!

    I have been wanting to make the stuffed cheese bread for a while. Your pictures look so fabulous I may just have to do that and soon!

    Happy New Year!

  7. So many things on your round up that I really enjoyed also! I would have to say my favorites are the Perfect Party Cake and the Danish Braids. I made them both more than once! However, those chocolate cupcakes from TWD were pretty awesome too!

  8. Wow! ...what a year it has been for you, Di! Such a great countdown!

    Like a friend of mine always says: "Even in times of crisis, if the fridge is full... then we're okay!" So for 2009, I wish you just that... abundance and plenty, and as many great treats to bake and eat! and yes of course, love, health and many reasons to smile, laugh and be happy.

  9. You've done a lot of baking this year! Mmmm, it all looks heavenly.

    Here's to another sweet year :)

  10. Happy anniversary...and so NOT FAIR...looking at all your great food just made it harder to stick to those hoped-for dieting tricks! You are a star!

  11. Loved reading about all your baking pleasures. Beautiful photos, Di. I loved hearing about Central Market earlier. I lived in Texas. Love it!
    Happy 2009