Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Review and Reflection

As 2015 comes to a close, it's time to reflect back on the past twelve months. Back in the summer, Joyously Domestic began its fourth year. It is so much fun and such a blessing that my "work" is doing something that I absolutely love. I'm continually amazed everyday that my job is sharing my love of food with all of you.
Professionally, I celebrated some milestones over the course of the past year. Back in October, I hit one million page views just in a one-month period (a new record for JD). During 2015, a few of my recipes/photos were featured/shared on several major sites, such as Delish, BuzzFeed, MSN, Today Food and The Food Network. And, my overall stats for the blog improved greatly - way beyond my expectations and hopes for the year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ultimate Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I make many variations of potato soup. Like, probably more than ten. It is the one type of soup that every single family member in the Joyously Domestic household absolutely loves. Throughout the fall, winter and spring, I make potato soup on an average of once a week. Sometimes I keep it very simple and basic. And, then there is this recipe.

Okay. Maybe I should clarify so as to not scare you away from trying the recipe. I'm not saying that this is a difficult, complicated or overly-involved recipe. It's just a little more complex in flavor and has more ingredients in comparison to my "typical, everyday" recipe.

Basically, this version is just slightly more over-the-top. In many fabulous, fabulous ways.

It is thick, luxurious and decadent ... the perfect marriage of everything we all love about potato soup combined with the flavors of a loaded baked potato.

Serves 6.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Black Forest Mini Trifles with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Black Forest Cake is one of my favorite desserts. My grandmother made it for birthdays and special occasions during my childhood. One of things that I loved about it was that it was served cold straight out of the fridge and that it had been made well in advance so that everything could meld together. I know that she made her version completely from scratch, but I've put together this recipe with a little help from store-bought items. You could, of course, make a chocolate cake using your own favorite recipe and/or prepare homemade whipped cream. But, I've found that this is a great avenue to take when I'm wanting to save on time, but still "wow" my guests with a decadent dessert.

What I do recommend is that this be made in advance. I have found that making and assembling the trifles a day before service is ideal. Also, I brush my cooled cake with an amaretto simple syrup, but you could opt to make a simple syrup without the liqueur. It would simply be made with equal parts water and sugar.

Note, also, that this recipe could be made into one large trifle instead of twelve mini trifles, if desired.

Yields twelve servings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Moravian Ginger Spice Cookie Thins

It took me quite a bit of experimenting to get this particular recipe how I wanted. Lots of trial and error. I knew the texture and flavor for which I was aiming. I tweaked and tweaked with each new batch until I came up with what I consider "The Ultimate Ginger Cookie" recipe. I think you'll like this one and I urge you to try it for yourself. It has become my favorite holiday cookie.

Thin and crisp, these cookies are more complex in flavor than traditional, run-of-the-mill ginger snaps. Each spice is all at once undeniably and robustly distinct, yet harmoniously in sync with the other. The cookies are addicting in every sense of the word. Last year, I hid away the last couple of dozen for myself and I may have led the kids to think that there were simply no more left. (Shhhh! That'll probably happen again this year, too.)