Best of Bake or Break 2013

Here we are at the end of another year. That just kinda sneaks up on us, doesn’t it? As is often the case this time of year, I’ve been thinking back on this year and remembering some of the high points.

2013 was my second full year of blogging full-time. I am so happy and grateful to be able to do that! All of you are the reason that I am able to make a living from what makes me happy. So, an enormous thank you to all of you for that!

This past year was a really fun year for me. Not only did I bake so many delicious treats, but I got to do some awe-inspiring things that were so special to me. I visited King Arthur Flour and Duncan Hines. I spent a couple of days in Nashville at the Southern Baking Retreat sponsored by White Lily and Martha White. And, I even toured The Culinary Institute of America where I got to cook in one of their kitchens! I’m still astounded that all of that happened.

Of course, first and foremost is the baking. That’s what it’s all about around here. There was certainly plenty of baking going on in my kitchen this year. In fact, I shared over 100 recipes with you. And that’s a lot of butter and flour.

These 20 recipes are the most popular ones from this year. They are the ones that were viewed most often and got the most love. Now, here they are (in no particular order) all in one place! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecakes with Chocolate Cookie Crust | Bake or Break

Don’t you just love mini-sized desserts? I guess it’s the cute factor, but I think they are often more appealing than their normal-sized versions. These Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecakes with Chocolate Cookie Crust use one of my favorite combinations- chocolate and peanut butter – in a compact dessert that’s sure to please.

Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows | Bake or Break

Every year I have sort of a baking bucket list. I make myself a list of things I want to learn to make or even things I want to improve my current skill level. One of 2013’s bucket items was marshmallows. I’m happy to say that I was able to cross that one off in a big way with Salted Caramel Swirl Marshmallows. Who knew making marshmallows was so simple?

Mini Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookies | Bake or Break

I have two very good reasons for loving these Mini Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookies, and they are the first two words of the name – mini and skillet. Mini skillets! Could those be any cuter?

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cream Cheese Bars | Bake or Break

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cream Cheese Bars are a delicious marriage of oatmeal cookies and cheesecake. I am so glad these made the list, as we really enjoyed them. Plus, they’re so very adaptable, which is always a big win in my book.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust | Bake or Break

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust was one of my favorites as well as one of yours from this past year. I am always on the hunt for a good sweet and salty combo, and this one was just right for me. Pretzels, peanut butter, chocolate, and toffee… It was love at first sight.

Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake | Bake or Break

I’m so glad to see some coconut on this list! After years of living with a coconut-hater, I am happy to have some kindred coconut spirits among all of you. Toasted coconut may be even better than coconut, and it is a perfect topping for this Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake.

Caramel Pecan Bars | Bake or Break

My love of pecans is certainly no secret. I bake with them every chance I get. One of their starring roles this year was in Caramel Pecan Bars. This delicious desserts takes pecan pie, adds a subtle caramel-ness, and turns them into a big pan of bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars | Bake or Break

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars solve the problem of deciding between chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake. You can have both! These bars start with a chocolate chip cookie crust followed by a layer of cheesecake topped off with even more cookie dough.

Sour Cream Brownies | Bake or Break

Sour cream makes chocolate cakes extra good, so I added some to some super fudgy brownies to bring you Sour Cream Brownies. These are perfect for those of you who love chocolate in a big way. There’s nothing shy about them.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cake | Bake or Break

There’s a lot of chocolate + peanut butter love going on in this list. I don’t know if that’s because I use that combination frequently or because you all like it so much or both. Either way, I am wholeheartedly behind its frequency. Peanut Butter Fudge Cake is one of those wonderful one-layer cakes that delivers flavor in a big way with not a lot of effort. That’s a win.

Cinnamon Roll Cake | Bake or Break

Cinnamon Roll Cake. Just the recipe title alone was enough to get my attention. I do love a good dose of cinnamon in dessert, and this cake has plenty of that plus all the other fabulous flavors of cinnamon rolls.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Icebox Pie | Bake or Break

One of my favorite summer treats is an icebox pie. It’s so cold and creamy and refreshing after a hot, miserable day. Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Icebox Pie is a prime example of that kind of pie perfection. I recreated a chocolate pie my mother used to make and tweaked it a bit to incorporate some peanut butter both in the crust and in the filling.

Lemon Chess Tartlets | Bake or Break

Chess Pie is one of my favorite pies. It’s so amazingly simple that it really fascinates me. These Lemon Chess Tartlets are bite-sized versions dressed up with a cream cheese crust and a bit of fresh lemon juice. They’re perfectly sweet and tart at the same time.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake | Bake or Break

I went a little blueberry crazy this summer. Granted, I had more blueberries than I can ever remember having. I made all kinds of things with those beauties, but one of my favorites is also one of your favorites – Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. This delectable cake is a wonderful mashup of cake, blueberries, and cream cheese. And, it’s so, so good.

Vunderbars | Bake or Break

I can’t say enough good things about Vunderbars. It’s really hard to convey how very, very good they are. But, trust me when I say that these are one of the very best things I’ve made. Ever. Not just within the last year. If you are a chocolate and peanut butter fan, just make them.

Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies | Bake or Break

As many cookies as I bake, it seems a bit strange that there are so few cookies on this list. Maybe I just made a better variety of baked goods last year. In any case, here we are with Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies. Soft, delicate cookies are filled with a cheesecake filling. For a little variety, you can roll the cookies in cinnamon-sugar for a Snickerdoodle-like effect.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies | Bake or Break

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect cookies to bake when you can’t decide what kind of cookie to bake. They’re oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, and chocolate chip cookies all rolled into one!

Peanut Butter Banana Bars | Bake or Break

I was always skeptical about the combination of peanut butter and bananas. But, then I made Peanut Butter Banana Bars, and I was sold. These bars are a little bit like banana bread while still being cake-like. They’re great for everything from breakfast to dessert.

Banana Oatmeal Crumb Cake | Bake or Break

One of my dessert weaknesses is crumb topping. Isn’t it the best? Banana Oatmeal Crumb Cake is a magical merging of banana bread and coffee cake, all topped with a sweet, nutty crumb. Much like those bars above, you can justify eating a bit of this any time of day.

Strawberry Icebox Pie | Bake or Break

One more! I’m so glad to see Strawberry Icebox Pie on this list. As I said earlier, I do love an icebox pie in the summer. They’re good all year long, but I especially love them when it’s unbearably hot outside. This particular pie is made with fresh strawberries, cream cheese, and plenty of sweetened whipped cream.

There we have them, my baking friends. These 20 recipes were the most popular on Bake or Break for 2013. If you made something from BoB this year that you really loved, please do let me know.

I wish you all a very happy and sweet 2014!

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13 Comments

  1. Rust December 29, 2013 Reply

    Mean. Just mean. I cannot believe you did this to me.

    WONDERFUL POST!! :)

  2. grammabeth December 29, 2013 Reply

    oh my, there goes the diet. These look marvelous

  3. JEP December 29, 2013 Reply

    My favorite from this year’s round-up is the peanut butter cheesecake. Amazingly good!

  4. Barbara December 29, 2013 Reply

    Such a good looking list of goodies! I hope I don’t gain weight just drooling over them. Enjoy your baking ideas. Thought the marshmallows were phylio pastry and not marshmallows. Um good looking. Happy 2014! Barb

  5. Joanne December 29, 2013 Reply

    I totally just DROOLED my way through this whole post!!

  6. Cocktails Singapore December 30, 2013 Reply

    I really like all of that sweets! Hooo! im craving a lot!

  7. Marcie December 30, 2013 Reply

    I’m so impressed at what you’ve done in only 2 years! I love your recipes, and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite here. Happy New Year, Jennifer!

  8. Mmm I am glad to see that the peanut butter cheesecake with pretzel crust made the list. That’s my favourite recipe of yours this year!

  9. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie December 30, 2013 Reply

    That pb + choc cake that you shared as a guest post on my blog was definitely a hit. Lots of traffic from your fans to my blog, thanks! Also, those caramel marshmallows have got to be the next flavor marshmallow I try making.

  10. Carla December 31, 2013 Reply

    Everything looks so decadent and good! Happy New Year, Jennifer :)

  11. Linda January 1, 2014 Reply

    I think this whole blog is my to-do baking list for 2014!

  12. Karen Tannenbaum January 23, 2014 Reply

    Thanks to a friend on facebook, I have now signed up for your newsletter. I must say, I am already in a trance just looking at your Best of 2013. I have a huge problem in that I love to bake and do so all the time, but have nowhere for my baked goods to go. How do you handle this? What do you do with all this amazing food…I imagine I will have to go out on the streets and just hand it out or something. Your photography is amazing, and I can’t wait to start delving into your recipes. Thank you.

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry January 23, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Karen! I’m glad you found me! I am fortunate to have plenty of willing takers for the things I bake. Baked goods will make you some very fast friends. :-) Thank you so much for your kind words.

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