Looking back, 2015 was a sweet year. The four seasons, like always, gave us a rotating cast of ingredients to bake with, and we did just that. We baked seasonal staples (strawberry cheesecake and blackberry cream pie) and classic confections (crème brûlée and chocolate chocolate chip cookies). So get that stand mixer plugged in, and leave it plugged in through 2016. We’re not saying you need to skip the Häagen-Dazs, but let it play second fiddle to these desserts. They are easier to make than you think.
Summer Peach Pie
This vegan ice cream from Brooklyn’s
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream takes a classic flavor combination, peanut butter and chocolate, and uses cashew milk to make for an extra rich ice cream. Get the recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream »
Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble
Pie Crust Sable Breton
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat.
Tim Tam Pavlova
Renee Bourgault, co-owner of Breadfarm in Edison, WA, uses unrefined cane sugar instead of conventional granulated sugar in her graham crackers.
Swedish “Gooey” Chocolate Cake
Phoebe Lawless of
Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina makes cream pies all summer long that incorporate different fruits as they become available. This recipe works just as well with strawberries, peaches, cherries, or whatever is in peak season. It’s also a great way to use fruit that is just beyond its usability, whether bruised or overly ripe.
As Indiana’s state pie, this rich, nutmeg-dusted custard pie also goes by the name “Hoosier Pie.”
This custardy ice cream gets its tropical flavor from paw paws, a musky-sweet fruit native to the American Midwest that tastes somewhere between a banana and a mango, with a plush, creamy texture.
Get the recipe for Paw Paw Ice Cream »
Banana liqueur heightens the flavor of the bananas in this flambeed dessert from the New Orleans restaurant Brennan’s.
Get the recipe for Brennan’s Bananas Foster »
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
This North African cake is baked with dried coconut and sweetened condensed milk and then soaked in a fragrant lemony syrup with orange blossom and rose waters.
Get the recipe for Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters »
Pastry chef Anna Posey of Chicago’s Publican blackens rhubarb in a wood-fired oven for the cheesecake’s compote topping. A standard oven will also do the trick.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake »
Traeger’s Bakery in Demopolis, Alabama first popularized these soft spice cookies, which are named for their hard cinnamon glaze that glistens like a glossy turtle shell.
This buttery cake slathered with rich caramel icing has earned local fame on Chicago’s South Side—it’s one of our favorites to make for special occasions.
Get the recipe for Rose’s Famous Caramel Cake
This French egg custard is traditionally made with corn flour, but wheat flour works just as well. It puffs dramatically while cooking, then settles into a dense, delicately sweet flan.
These glittering almond squares make a fantastic Christmas cookie on their own, but sandwiched with raspberry jam, they’re even better.
Get the recipe for Almond Sugar Cookies »