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Top 10 Reader Faves of 2015
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Top 10 Reader Favorites of 2015

Alas, I sit here post-Christmas, in the midst of the season’s first snow/sleet (affectionately known as sneet), looking back at my work here and life over the past year and I can’t help but think “what a year it’s been!”  This year, I made lots of cookies, knocked #1 off my bucket list, had heart surgery that scared the life out of me, embraced a new look, spent an amazing week in Maine, rocked the homemade corn tortilla, and helped build a deck.

As I have been doing each year at this time, I now bring you your most visited new posts of the past year (in order below starting with most popular). I hope you are all spending your last few days of this year snuggling up with your families, eating lots of great food, and looking ahead to the new year with clear goals, eyes wide open. Thank you all for a fantastic year. Happy New Year!

One-Pot Creamy Sausage Pasta

one-pot creamy sausage pasta | This is one of those one-pot meals where you start out wondering how the heck the pasta could every possibly cook in a pool of majorly diluted marinara sauce and then you end up licking the bowl clean. This was also one of my most pinned recipes of the year and for good reasons: it’s easy, quick, and utterly fantastic.

Levain Copycat Giant Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies | smells-like-home.com

levain copycat giant dark chocolate chunk cookies | This recipe is a copycat version from the famed NYC-based Levain bakery.  In my opinion, basically anything worthy of succeeding in NYC is worthy of going in my stomach. These cookies are the combination of puddles of melted dark chocolate chunks, crisp exteriors, soft interiors, and a hint of richness from a higher brown:white sugar ratio. They are so, so, so great.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake

dark chocolate ganache cake | You guys sure do know your cake so it’s no surprise to me that this one would be one of your top faves of the year. Layers of super fudgy brownie-like layers (see also: fudgy choco-peanut butter cake) with the simplest of whipped ganache frostings make this cake as outstanding as it could possibly be.

Marriage Counseling Cookies

marriage counseling cookies | Oh what a little bit of flaky sea salt can do to transform a chocolate chip cookie into a shining star! Layers of dark chocolate and flecks of that magical salt swirl throughout these babies, leaving them so perfect they have solved our age-old argument about whose favorite cookie is better: this one just wins.

Mushroom Marsala Farro Bake

mushroom marsala farro bake | In this two-pot dish, hearty, nutty, and healthy farro ends up like a no-fuss risotto as it soaks up a creamy mushroom-marsala-rosemary sauce and then bakes off beautifully with a handful of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. You guys clearly loved this one as much as we did this year and I’m so excited to see it on this list!

Kale, White Bean and Farro Salad

kale white bean farro salad | Am I starting to see a trend here with farro meals because you guys were spot-on with this recipe too! Beefing up a plain leafy salad with fiber-rich farro and protein-rich white beans made this meatless and vegan meal one of our favorites of this year as well. The kale is tossed and softened with an amazing lemon-tahini vinaigrette, leaving you truly satisfied and wishing there were leftovers for lunches.

Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream Cake

peanut butter cookies and cream ice cream cake | Thanks to all of you for overlooking my slacker tendencies and embracing  this mind-blowing ice cream cake a whole year after I actually made it. It may have taken me a year to write that post but it took less than a few days for the cake itself to disappear. And for good reason: peanut butter cookies and cream. with cake. and hot fudge. and more oreos. Need I say more?

Espresso Dulce de Leche Brownies

espresso dulce de leche brownies | Yes. Yes. Yes. Dark. Fudgy. Sweet. Perfect. This was one of your faves for the same reason it was one of mine: one can never have enough brownies in one’s life.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

chocolate crinkle cookies | The third and final cookie on your favorites list this year, these chocolate crinkles should not be relegated to being Christmas cookies. They’re just fine – excellent, even! – at any time of the year. With their chewy deep chocolate centers and crackly sugar exteriors, they easily became one of your faves of 2015.

Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

chicken pot pie with savory crumble topping | While only posted in November, this pot pie for a crowd quickly became one of your faves of 2015 and was coincidentally my top Instagram post of the year, too. With an almost obscene amount of crumbs set atop homey, thick, and stewy chicken and vegetable filling, you guys sure do know good food.


Top Reader Favorites of Years Past:

Top 10 of 2014
Top 10 of 2013
Top 10 of 2012
Top 9 of 2011


 I would love to hear what you guys want to see here next year – please let me know in the comments below or by email.

Merriest of Christmases to You!
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SLH christmas card 2015

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases! We hope you take some time this Christmas to relax with your families and enjoy the wonder of the season. More goodness will come from us before year’s end but in the meantime, much love and warmth to you all.  xoxo

P.S. – if you’re running late with your baking (like me), I put a great list of favorites together last year that you may want to check out.

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge
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Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

In the spirit of all things Christmas, these past few weeks have been a whirlwind filled with too much online shopping, too many cookies, and not nearly enough holiday music. It’s been a mishmosh of busy days at work and evenings spent decorating the house and watching our favorite Christmas movies (Christmas Vacation! The Grinch! Love Actually!). This peppermint pretzel marshmallow fudge, likewise, is an outstanding mishmosh of some of my favorite things.

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

This fudge is dead simple to make. No, it isn’t as basic as microwaving sweetened condensed milk with chocolate chips (although, yum!) but the fudge itself is made with just a few pantry ingredients boiled on the stove top with the top and bottom layers covered with crushed peppermint candies, marshmallows, and skinny pretzels. It’s sweet, salty, minty, and oh so chocolaty all at the same time – and it pretty much got devoured when I put it out on my cookie platter last Christmas. I’m sure it will on yours, too.

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge

Prep Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup crushed peppermint candy
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels

Instructions

  1. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper.
  2. Sprinkle 1 cup of marshmallows, half of the peppermint candy, and half of the pretzel pieces over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, half and half, and sea salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted and combined. The mixture will still be simmering as you stir in the chocolate so be careful!
  4. Clip a candy thermometer to the edge of the pot and watch as the mixture comes to 234° F without stirring. Once the mixture reaches 234° F, take the pan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the vanilla extract and ½ cup mini marshmallows to the still warm chocolate fudge. Using electric hand beaters (or use some elbow grease and a sturdy whisk), beat the mixture together until marshmallows are completely melted and combined, about 3 minutes.
  6. While the mixture is still warm, pour it over the marshmallows, peppermint, and pretzels in the prepared pan. Immediately sprinkle the top of the fudge with the remaining marshmallows, peppermint, and pretzels. Press in just slightly while the fudge is still warm.
  7. Cover the pan in plastic wrap or foil and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until solid through. Once cooled, remove from the pan and slice into small cubes. Leftovers will keep at room temperature for about 1 week, in the fridge for a couple weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Source

adapted from Joy the Baker

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2015/12/peppermint-pretzel-marshmallow-fudge/