NOW is the Time to Make Homemade Vanilla for Your Holiday Baking

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In just a couple short months, it will be holiday baking time. This year, upgrade the flavor. Instead of using generic store bought vanilla flavoring, make your own extract.

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Making homemade vanilla extract is ridicuously simple!  The recipe below is the basic recipe.  Here, we use vodka as the base, but you can use other liquors, such as rum or brandy. 

For the beans, we’ve chosen the Madagascar variety, for that classic rich vanilla flavor.  Feel free to vary it up, for your own signature blend.

 

 

Ingredients:

A 750ml Bottle of Vodka (any brand, 80 proof)

10 Madagascar Vanilla Beans ( I got mine here on Amazon).

A glass jar for storage.

 

1.  Slice the vanilla beans horizontally, exposing the seeds. Place the beans into the bottle.

 

2. Fill the bottle with Vodka, and give it a shake.

That’s it! It’s that simple.

 

 

Shake up the bottle a few times a week.  Your Vanilla Extract will be useable in 1-2 months, just in time for holiday baking! It’s best to make a batch as soon as possible. The longer it ages, the more intense the flavor. 

 

 

Top off the bottle with alcohol as needed to keep an ample supply on hand. 

 

Happy Baking!

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*gifs by giphy

 

 

 

 

Meet and Greet Recipe Exchange: Pumpkin

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Hello Fellow Bloggers and Bakers!

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We’re hosting another Meet and Greet Recipe Exchange

You may be asking yourself, what’s the point of participating in a Meet and Greet?

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Well, it’s an opportunity to…

  • Connect with other bloggers.
  • Gain exposure for your blog.
  • Increase your followers.
  • Discover new blogs.
  • And of course collect delicious recipes!


Each Recipe Exchange features a different baking confection or flavor.  

Now it may not officially be Autumn, but September has arrived…which means Pumpkin Spice is in the air!

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So, no surprise, the theme of this Recipe Exchange is Pumpkin.

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Ordinarily, chocolate is the star of all of the desserts on this blog. But, just this once, chocolate doesn’t have to be the main ingredient. However, we do ask that chocolate is in the recipe…we don’t want to get too crazy here, and lose focus of our priorities. Besides, pumpkin and chocolate- pure decadence!

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The Rules:

Your recipe must feature pumpkin, and include at least one chocolate element. The chocolate can be in any form, or in any amount:

  • White, Milk, or Dark Chocolate 
  • A sprinkle of chocolate chips
  • A powder of cocoa
  • A white chocolate glaze
  • A dash of chocolate sprinkles

 

Photo here 


Examples include, (but are not limited to):

  • Muffins
  • Cakes & Cupcakes
  • Cheesecakes
  • Pies & Tarts
  • Cookies 
  • Cookie Bars


If you have a Pumpkin recipe on your blog, we’d love to showcase it here! Simply, post the name of the recipe and your blog link in the comment section below.

Photo here

Don’t have a recipe, but love great food? We’d love to connect with you, as well!

To gain the most exposure, be sure to add your recipes and blog link to past and future Recipe Exchanges. We’ll keep a running lists of posts.


Previous Recipe Exchanges:

Chocolate & Berries 

Brownies

S’mores

Looking forward to your Pumpkin recipes! ❤️

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13 Chocolate Desserts to Add to your Foodie Bucket List

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Movie Theater Sundae photo

Brownie, topped with popcorn flavored ice cream, peanut butter pretzels, and brown butter caramel.

Where to find it:  The Stanton Social, NY

 

Cookie Shots photo

The interior of the handmade cookie cup is slathered with Belgian chocolate, and then filled with a Madagascar vanilla or chocolate cream.

Where to find it: The Dirty Cookie, CA


Chocolate Sphere photo

Warm buttered chocolate melts the chocolate sphere to unveil chocolate lava cake and ice cream.

Where to find it: Pantry, Boston

 

Eggloo Waffle and Ice Cream photo

Inspired by Hong Kong’s Egg Waffles, Eggloo’s waffles are stuffed with your choice of homemade ice cream and toppings.

Where to find it: Eggloo, NY 

 

French Hot Chocolate photo

Hot Chocolate thick enough to use a spoon.

Where to find it: Angelina, Paris

 

Outrageous Milkshakes photo

See the photo below? Enough said.

Where to find it:  Black Top, NY

 

Cannoli Nachos photo

Cannoli chips served with sweet ricotta dip.

Where to find it: Di Mare Pastry, CT

 

 

The Kitchen Sink Cake photo

The “cake” is actually made up of layers of cheesecake, pecan pie, devil’s food cake, brownies, peanut butter crunch, vanilla chiffon cake, and chocolate chunk cookies…and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Where to find it:  Hard Rock, Universal Studios, Orlando


Ice Cream Fondue photo

Where to find it: Mega Bangna, Thailand 


Chocolate Pinata photo 

Break open your own chocolate piñata to release a bounty of churros and fresh fruit.

Where to find it: Uncle Julio’s, TX


Chocolate Explosion (photo)

Your waiter cracks open the sphere to reveal vanilla and mango mousse, brownie chunks, nuts, and candy. Then, the dessert is finished off with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and liquid nitrogen. 

Where to find it: Quattro Restaurante, Mumbai

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Rolled-Up Ice Cream photo

 Thai-inspired homemade ice cream, hand-rolled in front of you.

Where to find it: 10Below ,NY


The Treasure Chest photo

Chocolate treasure chest overflowing with a dozen scoops of ice cream, 3 slices of cake, deep fried Oreos and candy bars, and more!

Where to find it: Caesars, Las Vegas


I’m always on the lookout for new chocolate experiences. What desserts would you add to the list?



Smile and Say Cheese-Cake!

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Girl Scout cookie season has come and gone. So what’s a girl to do when she has an insatiable craving for the Samoa cookie?  

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What’s a Samoa, you ask? 


It’s the cookie with-

Sweet toasted Coconut,

 

Rich, decadent Chocolate,

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And, chewy golden Caramel.

 

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And when you combine all three flavors and textures, it’s nothing short of irresistible.

 

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Now imagine all of that goodness…on top of a cheesecake.

 

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No-Bake Samoa Cheesecake 

Original Recipe by Life, Love and Sugar

 

Ingredients

Crust
2 cups Oreo crumbs (from about 20 Oreos, leave filling in the Oreos))
1/4 cup butter, melted
 
Filling and Topping
1 cup coconut flakes, divided
24 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 cup vanilla wafers, broken into pieces
1/2 cup caramel sauce, divided (I use this one)
8 oz cool whip (or homemade whipped cream)
1/4 cup mini chic chips for topping
additional caramel sauce for topping
chocolate sauce for topping (I use this one)

Instructions

1. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine Oreo crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan.
3. Combine cream cheese, sugars and extracts in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Fold in 3/4 cup of coconut flakes, vanilla wafer pieces and 1/4 cup caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture.
5. Add Cool Whip to cream cheese mixture and stir until combined.
6. Add batter to crust in 3 parts, adding a little more of the caramel sauce each time until you’ve used all of the caramel. Use a knife to swirl caramel around. Be careful to not put the knife through the crust.
7. Smooth out the top of the cheesecake.
8. Top cheesecake with remaining 1/4 cup coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.
9. Refrigerate until firm, 4-5 hours.