Big Pictures

Our 12 most delicious food photos of the year

We spend a lot of time testing and developing recipes here at TT, but that's just half the battle: Every recipe we feature has to look beautiful before the internet can beam it into your hungry eyes.

That's why every day, our Test Kitchen doubles as a photo studio where we style and shoot (and, yes, eventually eat) every dish you see on our site. And we're pretty proud of that.

Of course, we all have our favorite moments (like that time we brought in a live spider crab) and recipes (a killer Baked Alaska and that gorgeous pan of crispy braised chicken thighs), and, lucky for us, they've all been captured on camera.

Check out this slideshow for 12 of the year's best photos—all shot right here in the Test Kitchen.

Savory pancakes are a beautiful thing, or so we learned this year with our story on new age French breakfasts. This recipe from Ellsworth, in Paris, sees cheesy cornmeal hotcakes get topped with buttery mushroom confit and a fried egg.

The sweet pancake had plenty of time to shine this year, too. Our favorite is this gorgeous Dutch baby finished with caramelized pears and toasted almonds.

We kicked off 2015 with a healthy dinner party menu from Hearth's Marco Canora. His braised chicken thighs—studded with a dozen whole garlic cloves, thinly sliced lemon and Greek olives—was one of the year's most popular (and delicious-looking) recipes.

One of the prettiest recipes of the year took advantage of peak-season heirloom tomatoes. This showstopping savory tomato pie practically shot itself.

These chile-laced Vietnamese Sunbathing Prawns from Cassia chef Bryant Ng proved to be another summer favorite, but we'll take them any time of year. And they'll look just as glamorous on your table as they did in our Test Kitchen.

Each installment of our What to Eat Now series opens with a beauty shot, and it's always a surprise to see how gorgeous just one ingredient can be (think: chestnuts, peas or strawberries). This year, we were all about these ultra-dramatic tomatillos (and the green shakshuka we whipped up afterward).

We've done plenty of lush, illustrated guides (on citrus, basil and chiles, to name a few), but none were quite as fun to shoot as our Crab 101, for which we called in a box of live crustaceans—among them, an absolutely massive spider crab.

Our new-school tartare recipe saw cubes of hand-cut sirloin tossed with fish sauce, sherry vinegar and potato chips, but for the main story, a part of our Culinary Institute series, we kept things old school—egg yolk and all.

Never ones to leave drink out of the conversation, this year we tapped Blackberry Farm wine director Andy Chabot to teach us how and why to decant wine. This dreamy wine shot accompanied an equally beautiful video that takes the mystery out of wine service.

We put out a lot of batchable cocktail recipes this year, but our Winter Spice Punch, made with sherry and pear cider, and spiced with cinnamon, anise and clove, was one of the most eye-catching—both on and off camera

Retro desserts have never looked (or tasted) as good as our Baked Alaska. This stunner starts with banana-walnut cake layered with pink raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream, all topped with a foolproof Swiss meringue. Then, it gets torched.

We shot a lot of ice cream this year at TT HQ—from the ultimate sundae to a boozy Dark and Stormy float. But one of the weirdest, most colorful and downright fun pictures of the year is this cherry-topped chocolate and peanut butter shake, hot pink background and all.