Category: Dessert


Tutorial: Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

Store-bought vanilla can get pretty fancy, but absolutely nothing compares to the real thing. Homemade vanilla extract makes for a perfect handmade gift, and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to whip some up!

Take my advice and get enough supplies for two batches—after you make one for mom, I guarantee that you’ll want one too!

* Mason jar, 8oz size with tight-fitting lid
* Vodka, 1 cup (Buy the cheap stuff; it won’t make a difference!)
* 3 vanilla beans
* Painting supplies to decorate jar (optional)

* Kitchen scissors
* Measuring cup

**Please note that the links provided above are affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you choose to make a purchase after clicking through.**

Step 1
Using kitchen scissors, snip 3 vanilla beans in half length-wise, then place them in a clean mason jar.

Tip: I bought my vanilla beans in bulk from a local Middle Eastern grocery store for a fraction of the price I’d have paid at Whole Foods or my neighborhood natural market. Vanilla beans can be very expensive, so shop around a bit before you buy!

Step 2
Measure 1 cup of vodka, then add it to the jar with the vanilla beans.

Step 3
Secure the lid firmly on the jar, then store in a dark cool place for at least one month (2 months or more is better), shaking the jar periodically to mix. As the infusing process progresses, the color of the liquid change from clear to a deep, rich brown.

Step 4
If you’re planning to give the jars as gifts, you can give them an extra-homey feel by labeling them with acrylic paints.

The best part about making your own vanilla extract: As the jar empties, you can top it off with more vodka. The vanilla beans will continue to infuse for years to come!


Friday Internet Crushes: Confectioners’ Sugar Lollipop Molds

I’m in Vermont for the weekend for a wedding, and I’ve been traveling all day. I’m feeling a little tired and a little lazy, so I was just going to put up a picture of the beer that I had this evening at McNeill’s and call it a crush. (Hey, who doesn’t like beer?!)

But, instead, I’m going to share this awesome confectioners’ sugar lollipop mold idea from the King Arthur Flour website. Pretty brilliant, right?

(Thanks to Be Different Act Normal for the tip!)


Sunday Snapshot: Happy Herbivore Rum Cake

Today, my husband shot photographs of my friend Lindsay (a.ka. Happy Herbivore) for the cover of her next cookbook. I, for my part, tagged along for Lindsay’s rum cake. ;)

Rest assured, it was absolutely as delicious as it looks.

In case you are somehow unfamiliar with Lindsay’s first cookbook, you can (and should) buy a copy here:

**If you click through a link to in this post, I will make a little money if you make a purchase. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.**


Vegan “Cadbury” Creme Egg

vegan cadbury creme eggs

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at a vegan version of this wondrous seasonal confection for at least two years. And today (yes, the day AFTER Easter), I have finally done it.

I’m fairly certain that the original recipe was posted on the PPK ages ago, but I was only able to find a copy of it here. To start, I used the basic ingredients listed in the recipe, but I tinkered with the filling a little bit to get it closer to how I remembered it. (Disclaimer: It’s been almost 10 years, so my memory might be a little fuzzy.) Basically, I just added splashes of soy creamer and drops almond extract until it started to taste right. For good measure, I also added a few splashes of soy creamer to the chocolate shell to get more of a milk chocolate flavor.

For reasons beyond me, the radiators are on full-blast in our apartment—even though it was almost 70 today—so I didn’t have much luck rolling the chilled-overnight filling into balls and dipping them in chocolate per the recipe’s instructions. Instead, I lined a mini muffin tin, then filled the bottom of each cup with chocolate, dropped in the filling, then covered the top with more chocolate.

My eggs are not shaped like eggs, but they are pretty tasty.