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      Recipes — Madagascar/vodka extract

      Sweet Heart's Cherry Cheesecake

      Sweet Heart's Cherry Cheesecake

      Ok. Here’s a throwback recipe I’ve had for years! You know that cookbook that just shows up in your college apartment and you’re not sure who’s it is? It may have even been there from the girls before.  I still have it:)

      I used this cheesecake recipe for a Valentine’s dinner for my then college boyfriend, now hubby for over 20 years!  

       Since then we've enjoyed many Valentine's dates. Some romantic,  Some with our boys and chocolate treasure hunts. 

      But that very first Valentines Day, I remember, mostly because of the company, and partly because of the cheesecake. Who doesn’t love cheesecake?! 

       Truthfully there isn’t anything fancy or unique about this cheesecake. It’s just a good fool proof recipe you can count on. But what I’ve learned through the years of baking is this…. quality vanilla can transfer your confections from good to great! Tongan rum with it’s cherry undertones is the perfect companion to these cherries.  If you’re in hurry, by all means, use the canned cherry pie filling at the grocery store.  Although, if you want to make your own sweet cherries, go to our previous post cherry hand pies. Either way don’t forget that yummy vanilla!




      1/3 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies or vanilla wafers

      1/4 cup melted butter

      2 tablespoons sugar


      4 Large eggs

      ½ cup butter softened

      2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

      1 cup sugar

      1 tablespoon cornstarch

      1 teaspoon baking powder

      1 tablespoon lemon juice


      1 cup sour cream

      2 tablespoons sugar

      1 teaspoon Vanillapura Madagascar/vodka vanilla extract


      -1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling

      1 tsp of Vanillapura Tongan/rum vanilla extract

      -3 tablespoons kirsch or orange juice, if desired

      - Or make your own cherry hand pies



      1. STEP 1

      Heat oven to 325°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch spring form pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease inside of pan. 

      1. STEP 2

      Combine all crust ingredients in bowl. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool.

      1. STEP 3

      Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Set aside.

      1. STEP 4

      Combine 1/2 cup butter, cream cheese and egg yolks into bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add all remaining filling ingredients except egg whites. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Gently stir in beaten egg whites.

      1. STEP 5

      Spoon filling into crust. Place cheesecake onto center rack of oven. Place pan of warm water on rack below cheesecake to prevent cracking. Bake 55-65 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch. Cool 15 minutes.

      1. STEP 6

      Loosen sides of cheesecake from pan by running knife around inside of pan. Cool completely. (Cheesecake center will dip slightly upon cooling.)

      1. STEP 7

      Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in bowl; mix well. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Spoon out 2 to 3 tablespoons cherry sauce from pie filling; drop by teaspoonful onto sour cream topping. Carefully pull knife or spatula through cherry sauce to form hearts. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours.

      1. STEP 8

      Stir together remaining pie filling and kirsch in bowl; spoon over cheesecake at serving time.  Don’t forget to add the vanilla. Store refrigerated.

      A big thank you to Land O Lakes for this long time favorite recipe.



      Lovely Little Vanilla Lemon Bars

      Lovely Little Vanilla Lemon Bars

      These little Vanilla Lemon Bars are not your go-to typical lemon bars. They are more like a snack cake. Two things I love…lemon…and vanilla!  They are moist and sweet with a thin layer of glaze over the top.  Just delicious and very simple to make. That yellow color is screaming sunshine and spring flowers. The perfect little sweet treat for a spring afternoon.


      • 1 cup butter, softened
      • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
      • 4 eggs
      • 2 teaspoons VanillaPura Madagascar/vodka vanilla extract
      • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2–3 lemons)
      • zest of one lemon
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour


      • 1 cup powdered sugar
      • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
      • zest of one lemon (optional)
      • 1 tsp of VanillaPura extract
      • 1 Tbsp of heavy cream


      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
      2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
      3. Add vanilla bean paste, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix.
      4. Add salt and flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Pour the batter evenly into the pan, and bake for 28-30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
      5. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, and then pour glaze over the top and spread it evenly to the edges. Cool completely and then cut into bars. A plastic knife works very well! Store in an airtight container.


      1. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla bean paste, and heavy cream into a bowl and whisk together with a fork. Add water as needed to thin the glaze. It should be pourable. Pour and spread the glaze over the slightly cooled bars.

      Thanks for sharing Julie @ lovely little kitchen