Some foods are so special, we never forget that first taste. That's pretty amazing, considering we've printed more than 2,700 recipes at Midwest Living® in the past 20 years. Based on responses from readers and research by the Test Kitchen and our food editors, we've selected 20 that we believe are the best of the best.
Our first pick: Winter Shortcake. We missed the wonderful fruit-filled shortcake we love in summer, so we created a version starring winter-friendly ingredients. Pumpkin pie spice stands out in the cake itself, then apple pie filling and frozen tart cherries come together for a colorful winter treat.
This potluck standout was sent to us as a Minnesota reader's favorite recipe -- and we agreed. We chose this recipe because it offers two versions of gooey goodness: one is a more traditional roll with added moistness from the vanilla cake mix, and the other is a chocolate-coconut recipe with a caramel topper. Regardless of which one you pick, you'll love the aroma that fills your home while it's baking.
A cheesecake layer and nut topping help this pumpkin pie stand out from its peers. This recipe—a winner at the Morton, Illinois, Pumpkin Festival baking competition—has been one of our most-requested recipes.
Paradise Pumpkin Pie 
Readers always want soup recipes during winter. This trio features white bean and chicken chili (left), the winner of our 1990 great chili search; beans and ham (middle), perfect with warm corn bread on a cold day; and a Reuben soup (right), which packs the flavors from a Reuben sandwich in a bowl.
Chocolate chips, peanut butter and oatmeal pack the triple-flavored big batch cookies from the Scofield House in Door County, Wisconsin (bottom), while the chocolate nut revels (top) show off a pretty swirled look in a simple drop cookie.
We combined the lemon-and-proscuitto pasta from Zona Spray's cooking school in Hudson, Ohio, with a tossed salad with dried cherries and Parmesan from Door County, Wisconsin's, White Gull Inn to make this well-rounded family dinner.
Ultra-rich cheesecake and sweet raspberries bond in this recipe from our Test Kitchen. A shortbread cookie crust gives it a great crunch. To change it up, substitute blueberries or strawberries.
This grill recipe from our Test Kitchen's Lynn Blanchard is easy to make and has great garlic flavor. She prepares her pork roast with fresh garlic and herbs from her garden. Serve it with grilled vegetables to round out your meal.
We love the nutty oatmeal taste of this sweet treat, and it's a healthier alternative to most desserts. If you're watching calories, serve this pie with a berry topping instead of whipped cream.
Sykora Bakery in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provided this morel-mushroom appetizer recipe for a story about spring festivals. These appetizer pastries taste best served fresh from the oven.
Loaded with chocolate, these beauties from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan, have been one of our most popular brownie recipes. What's magic about them? The extra-fudgy flavor and the gooey texture.
The stylish Classic Cup Cafe cookies (bottom) are full of flavor, with dried cherries, pistachios and orange peel. Joe Carson's Ginger Cookies (top), from the baker at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, are perfectly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and full of that ginger-spicy zing.
Originally published in Midwest Living® January/February 2007.