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      Recipes — extract

      Vanilla Bean Blueberry Lemon + Cream Cheese Swirl Sticky Buns.

      Vanilla Bean Blueberry Lemon + Cream Cheese Swirl Sticky Buns.

      Ok, I have one more lemon left from my tree. Just enough for another yummy dessert.  I came across this recipe from a Huffington Post article about recipes worth the price of a vanilla bean. It really is that good:). The Gooey goodness is the best part of these sweet buns. I think it would be just as good with blackberries too!  These are not just some ordinary sticky buns.

      Imagine:  blueberries…lemons…vanilla… and more vanilla?! Heavenly! Make this for your next special breakfast/brunch. Or... just because.



      • 1/2 cup warm water
      • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
      • 4 tablespoons butter softened
      • 1/2 cup warm milk
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may sub half white whole wheat
      • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon Madagascar Vanillapura extract


      • 1 cup stick salted butter 1/2
      • 3/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 Madagascar Vanillapura bean seeds scraps + pods reserved
      • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


      • 6-8 ounce cream cheese softened
      • 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
      • 1/2 cup slivered almonds optional



        In the bowl of a stand mixer add the warm water, yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix to dissolve the sugar and then allow the mixture to sit 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy on top.

         After 5 minutes add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, warm milk, baking powder, flour, lemon zest, salt and Vanillapura extract. Using the dough hook kneed the dough until a smooth ball forms. You may need to add a little water if the dough seems dry or a little flour if the the dough seems too wet. Once a ball has formed continue to kneed the dough for 3-5 minutes.

        Turn the mixer off and lightly grease the bowl.

         Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours. Meanwhile make the goo. Add the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and the vanilla bean seeds + empty Vanillapura bean pods. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer 2-3 minutes. During the last minute add the blueberries, breaking them up into the goo just a little. Remove from the heat.

         In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoon cinnamon.

        Lightly grease a muffin pan and divide half of the goo among the bottom of the muffin cups, set aside. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

         Roll the dough out into a roughly 18x18 inch square. If using the cream cheese spread it over the dough. I find it helpful to microwave the cream cheese and "melt' it slightly. It makes spreading much easier. Pour half of the goo over the cream cheese (or plain dough if not using cream cheese). Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the goo. Starting with the end away from you, roll the dough into a line towards you (it will get very messy). Slice the rolls into 12 slices and place them in the prepared muffin cups. Drizzle any remaining goo, that may have leaked out, over the rolls. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.

         Cover and let the rolls rise for about 15-20 minutes.Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edges and pop them out. EAT!     

      • Thanks to for sharing this recipe



      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      It's getting cold outside and my boys keep asking for hot chocolate. I stopped buying the store bought mix after reading what's in it.  Who would have thought all those preservatives were in hot chocolate mix. I like knowing what we're actually eating, and in this case, drinking. This recipe is so rich and smooth. My boys won't even touch the store bought stuff.  I guess I'm raising a couple of hot chocolate snobs:). I just have to make it once and it lasts all winter!


      • 4 cups granulated sugar
      • ½ split crosswise Mexican Vanillapura bean.
      • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
      • sprinkle of cinnamon 



      1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
      2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
      3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
      4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
      5. To serve: heat 2 cups of milk over the stove
      6. Top with whipped cream or a sprinkle of cinnamon

      recipe shared from





      Nostalgic Sugar Cookies

      Nostalgic Sugar Cookies

      Do any of you have that friend that everything they touch turns to gold?  I do:). My dearest friend Rebecca, truly IS, the most talented lady I know.  Everything she bakes, cooks, photographs... turns to gold! We were neighbors, just across the street. There was a worn path from our home to hers.  Really, we considered her and her family, our family. It was a magical time. My most beloved and cherished recipes come from her.  She now lives far away, but every time I use one of her recipes, its like she's still JUST across the street. Do any of you have a recipe that takes you back to a magical place?

      Oh, and yeah, these really are the best sugar cookies you'll EVER bake:). You won’t be disappointed. Every bite is filled with that perfect vanilla, buttery, soft sweet goodness, you deserve from the perfect sugar cookie.

      Every Christmas we have a holiday cookie decorating party. My boys would always ask, “When are we having our cookie party?” Now my niece’s and nephew’s littles are asking. Everyone has their favorite cookie cutter. I have collected too many through the years. But some how they all get used:). I love traditions at Christmas. So fun to make and even better to eat! 



      • 4 cups flour
      • 1 tsp. baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 cup butter
      • 2 beaten eggs
      • ¼ cup milk
      • 1 tsp Madagascar Vanillapura extract
      • 1 heaping cup of sugar
      • 1 tsp soda



      1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and butter, until you get a cornmeal texture.

      2. In a separate bowl, add well beaten eggs, milk, vanillapura. Mix in the soda with the sugar. Beat all ingredients together.

      3.Pour the sugar mixture into the flour mixture. Add just enough flour to the dough to make it workable. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.

      4. Bake @ 375 degrees for 8 minutes.





      Beloved Banana Bread

      Beloved Banana Bread
      Banana bread is a must at my home. It's the treat of choice for my family and its so easy to make. Use those rotten bananas to make something sweet!!

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