The Best Desserts We Made in 2015

Looking back on a sweet year of baking

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.

Peach Pie

Summer Peach Pie

Bourbon, cinnamon, and nutmeg add warmth to this bright summer peach pie from SAVEUR Food Editor Ben Mims.Farideh Sadeghin

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
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.Farideh Sadeghin

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée
Beating egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy is the key to the smooth texture in this rich, classic French dessert, as made by Dennis Wist, father of Saveur Art Associate Allie Wist.Farideh Sadeghin

Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble

Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble
Chef Scott Crawford of the forthcoming Nash Tavern in Raleigh updates the simple Southern custard pie by adding cacao nibs to the butter crust and sprinkling a nutty cornbread crumble on top.Joseph De Leo
Pie Crust Sable Breton

Sablé Breton

This recipe comes from Tariq Hanna of Sucré in New Orleans. Originating in Brittany, a region known for it's salt-forward cuisine, this crust contain a hefty pinch of the flaky stuff; be sure to use a good brand as the delicate flavor will be noticeable here. It's a crust that requires no rolling and very little fuss, making it an exceptional choice for a summer fruit tart.Matt Taylor-Gross

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)

Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat.Matt Taylor-Gross
Tim Tam Pavlova

Tim Tam Pavlova

The thing that differentiates this classic kiwi dessert from a meringue is the addition of vinegar: it helps give the outside a lovely crunchy shell, while the inside remains soft.Farideh Sadeghin
Breadfarm's Graham Crackers

Breadfarm's Graham Crackers

Renee Bourgault, co-owner of Breadfarm in Edison, WA, uses unrefined cane sugar instead of conventional granulated sugar in her graham crackers.Molly Wizenberg

Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake (Kladdkaka)

Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake
Chef Magnus Nilsson's wife likes to serve this beloved Swedish cake, similar to a fudgy American brownie, chilled, but it's just as good piping hot from the pan with a scoop of ice cream. Melting the butter in this recipe first and then stirring it with the other ingredients helps ensure that as little air as possible gets incorporated into the batter. The result: a gooey, more moist cake. Get the recipe for Swedish "Gooey" Chocolate Cake »Magnus Nilsson
Blackberry Cream Pie with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crumb Crust

Blackberry Cream Pie with Toasted Oat and Sesame Crumb Crust

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.Farideh Sadeghin

Indiana Sugar Cream Pie

Indiana Sugar Cream Pie
As Indiana's state pie, this rich, nutmeg-dusted custard pie also goes by the name "Hoosier Pie."Farideh Sadeghin
Houseman's Fruitcake

The Ultimate Fruitcake

Fruitcake has a bad rap. But if you take the care to find good ingredients, or make them yourself (re: roast the walnuts, candy the fruit and ginger, and soak your own cherries in rum) like Houseman chef Ned Baldwin does, there's no reason fruitcake can't hold its own against any other holiday dessert. There's also no reason it needs to age for any length of time; even with time to soak in a rum syrup, the cake is ready in days, not weeks.Matt Taylor-Gross
Paw Paw Ice Cream

Paw Paw Ice Cream

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.Farideh Sadeghin
Banana Fosters

Brennan's Bananas Foster

Banana liqueur heightens the flavor of the bananas in this flambeed dessert from the New Orleans restaurant Brennan's.Matt Taylor-Gross

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies test the limit of exactly how much chocolate you can possibly pack into one cookie. Made with cocoa powder and more than one type of chocolate chip, this cookie's soft dough benefits from at least 4 hours of refrigeration, allowing the disks to stay thick and chewy when cooked. Plus, the dough will keep frozen for several months, so stash a few in the freezer to throw in the oven whenever you're hit with a craving for chocolate. Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin developed this recipe based off New York City's famous Levain Bakery. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies »Farideh Sadeghin
Semolina–Coconut Cake

Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters

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 »Matt Taylor-Gross

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake
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 »Christina Holmes
Turtleback Cookies

Turtleback Cookies

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.Farideh Sadeghin

Rose's Famous Caramel Cake

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.James Oseland
GÂTEAU MILLASSON (GASCON-STYLE FLAN)

Gascon-Style Flan (Gâteau Millasson)

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.Matt Taylor-Gross

Almond Sugar Cookies

Almond Sugar Cookies
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 »Anders Schonnemann