The web's most popular recipes, including kale chips, engagement chicken, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, no-knead bread, butter tomato sauce, and more.
Butter Tomato Sauce
This irresistible four-ingredient recipe that requires about as much effort opening a can of Spaghetti-Os -- but delivers much more impressive results. What happens beneath the lid of this medium-sized stock pot is nothing short of alchemy: a generous amount of butter smoothes the acidic edges of the tomato, resulting in a delicate, opulent sauce that calls for a simple vehicle of pasta and absolutely nothing else. The Amateur Gourmet sang this recipe's praises in the early days of food blogging -- he threw in a few cloves of garlic for extra flavor. Steamy Kitchen suggests using salted butter and well-salted water for boiling pasta; Smitten Kitchen liked it best without any parmesan added. Food 52's Genius Recipes column called it "the most famous tomato sauce on the internet" and offers a version made with milled fresh tomatoes.
Photos, top to bottom: Smitten Kitchen, William Brinson for Food52
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Kim Boyce's James Beard Award-winning book Good to the Grain hit a nerve with its collection of pastry and savory recipes, ideal for health-conscious cooks who choose whole grains not just for their nutritious qualities, but also for the depth of flavor they add. Whole wheat flour adds nutty flavor to the classic chocolate-chip cookie, while cold butter helps the dough go straight from the bowl to the oven without a refrigeration period. Sweet Amandine says "these cookies can do no wrong," Orangette described them as a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a digestive biscuit, Kiss My Spatula doctored them slightly with a touch of orange zest and dark chocolate, and 101 Cookbooks baked her dough in a skillet for days when she feels "extra lazy."
Photos, top to bottom: Kiss My Spatula, Sweet Amandine
It seems like it could have come out of a pre-feminist fairy tale: Make this recipe for your man and he'll be so enraptured that he'll ask for your hand in marriage. That's the myth behind engagement chicken, a recipe passed from Glamour editor Kim Bonnell to her assistant. This Glamour video claims it has been responsible for inducing at least 70 engagements, even high-profile ones -- Beth Ostrosky reportedly made it for Howard Stern. But even single girls not waiting to put a ring on it, like Clare Cooks, sang the dish's lemony praises.
Steven Pyles's recipe for this cake never even ran in the print version of SAVEUR, but it remains Saveur.com's most popular dessert search term. The "heaven" comes from the angel food cake, the "hell" devil's food cake, and they alternate in seven layers with a creamy peanut butter mousse, all enrobed by a shiny milk chocolate ganache. It's not for baking novices, but judging from the number of photos of the cake online, that's not stopping anybody. Food o' del Mundo increased the amount of devil's food cake and decreased the amount of mousse, Baking Quinn got the best-looking slice by using a long thread to quickly and cleanly split the cake without messing up the gorgeous layers, and Whisk Kid serves the rich concoction with a glass of milk.
Photos, clockwise from top left: Andre Baranowski, Whisk Kid, Quinn's Baking Diary, Food o' Del Mundo
Crisp, feather-light, and nutty, these chips defied every notion most of us had ever had about healthy-to-a-fault kale. Anyone who tries them can understand why this recipe is so popular: They're everything we love in a homemade potato chip, without the mandolin mess or the splatter of the fryer vat. A Dan Barber recipe seems to be the source of the trend; Kalyn's Kitchen added a splash of sherry vinegar, and White on Rice Couple makes a spicy version with a healthy tablespoon of crushed chiles.
Photos, left to right: White on Rice Couple, Kalyn's Kitchen
Mark Bittman and Jim Lahey's recipe for no-knead bread ran in the New York Times in 2006, and immediately sparked a baking renaissance. It seemed as though the entire food blogging world took to their kitchens with Dutch ovens and some instant yeast to try their hand at making it. It was almost too easy to be believeable -- a great bread with a crackly crust and elastic, airy texture without the work? But the rave reviews rolled in almost immediately, from trusted sources like The Wednesday Chef and Smitten Kitchen. Those initial write-ups were soon followed by riffs on the recipe, such as FoodWishes's No-Knead Ciabatta, Cooks Illustrated's Almost No-Knead bread (registration required), and the Minimalist's own whole-wheat version.
_ Photos, top to bottom: Evan Sung for the New York Times, Smitten Kitchen
36-Hour Chocolate Chip Cookies
The chocolate chip cookie itself could be classified as an early recipe meme, as it came from a happy baking accident in the kitchen of Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Tollhouse Inn in the 1930s. But a New York Times recipe from 2008 revolutionized the classic by adding a 36-hour resting period (which allows for dehydration of the dough) as well as a sprinkling of sea salt. Orangette contributed the genius suggestion to scoop the dough before chilling it, Ezra Pound Cake called this recipe for chocolate chip cookies "The One," and confirmed that both the size of the cookies and the sea salt-dusting at the end matter significantly for the cookie¿s success. My Baking Addiction suggests making them exactly as written because "it's honest to goodness perfection."
Photos, top to bottom: Francesco Tonelli for the_ New York Times_, Ezra Pound Cake
World Peace Cookies
Baking hero Dorie Greenspan says she first got this recipe in 2000 from Pierre Herme, the macaron maestro of Paris. The chocolate sables were originally called Korova cookies after the restaurant where they were first created, but Dorie's neighbor renamed them for the effect he thought they could have on the world if everyone ate one per day. The sandy discs won Smitten Kitchen over, she hid hers in the freezer instead of sharing them with her co-workers. Gluten-Free Girl enlisted the help of her readership to figure out the right flour mix to get the correct texture without gluten, and Good Eats Blog warned her readers that despite their peaceful name, "folks are likely to fight over these cookies."