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      Recipes — vanilla

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      Cherry Crisp with fresh cherries

      Cherry Crisp with fresh cherries

      I absolutely love this time of year with the fruits stands popping up everywhere and farmers markets crowding the parks on Saturday mornings. Here in Utah, it's cherry season. Cherries are popping up everywhere! Doesn't this cherry crisp sound delish? Try it!



      Cherry Filling

      • 32 oz cherries, pitted and sliced in half
      • 3/4 cup sugar
      • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
      • 1/4 cup cornstarch
      • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
      • 1 tsp of Indoensian rum VanillaPura extract

      Oatmeal Crumble

      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
      • 1 cup brown sugar

      1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted



      1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees

      Cherry Filling

      1. Add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon to a very large stock pot. Toss with a spoon until the cherries are evenly covered.
      2. Heat the mixture over low heat stirring occasionally. The cherries will first start to release their juices, and then the mixture will start to thicken.
      3. After the juices have thickened (about 10-15 minutes), remove from the heat.
      4. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch glass or ceramic pan.


      Crumble Topping

      1. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, oats, and sugar.
      2. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture should look like wet sand.
      3. Crumble the oatmeal topping over top of the cherries.
      4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until you see the top starting to brown and cherries bubbling through. If the top is getting too brown, tent a piece of aluminum foil over top and continue baking. 

      Recipe Notes

      *If using frozen berries, they'll need to boil for 5-10 minutes longer. 

      **Large rolled oats or large flake oats work too. Do not use instant or steel-cut oats.

      Recipe can be halved and made in an 8x8 or 9x9 inch ceramic or glass pan.

      Store leftovers covered in the fridge. 


      Coconut lemon Cake

      Coconut lemon Cake

      Coconut and lemon?  You got me!

      A while back I read a cute novel called, " The Coincidence of the Coconut Cake".  You know, the kind of book your girl friends refer for a nice relaxing day at the beach. Nothing serious, heavy, or deep, just a fun light read. It’s a cross between You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake. It focuses on a talented chef named Lou and the critical food critic Al who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

       But what I remember most about this book besides the deliciously described coconut cake, was the character Lu (the chef) always dabbed a little vanilla behind her ears at the start of every day. As much as I love vanilla, why hadn’t I thought of this?!  Don’t think I didn’t try it!  A little bit of wonderfulness following you around all day? Yes, please!:).

       Also, since this book’s main setting settles in a small French cafe, the descriptions will leave you hungry and searching for really good food and perfectly sweet confections!

       Speaking of confections… If you love lemon and coconut, and I do… You gotta try this cake!

      Just think... 3 layers of coconut cake from scratch, sweetened coconut flakes, coconut milk, cake flour for an unbelievably soft crumb, eggs for richness, and a ton of butter. The flavors and textures are the perfect companions. I love how detailed this recipe is. You just can’t go wrong!



      • 3 cups sifted cake flour (300g) spooned and leveled
      • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup (120ml) coconut milk, at room temperature*
      • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
      • 1 and 1/2 cups (345g; 3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
      • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
      • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
      • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
      • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) VanillaPura Madagasgar  extract
      • optional:1 teaspoon coconut extract (I prefer the cake without it, but it’s still tasty!)
      • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (about 2 loosely packed cups)
      • 1 and 1.5 cups homemade lemon curd


      Cream Cheese Frosting

      • 8 ounces (225g) full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
      • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
      • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
      • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) coconut milk or heavy cream
      • 1 teaspoon VanillaPura Madagascar vanilla extract
      • pinch salt
      • Topping:toasted (or not!) sweetened shredded coconut and lemon slices for garnish




      1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray or lightly butter three 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
      2. Make the cake: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine the coconut milk and buttermilk together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
      3. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until creamed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and the coconut extract (if using). Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
      4. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not over-mix. Use a whisk to rid any large lumps, if needed. The batter will be slightly thick. Finally, fold in the coconut. The batter will be lumpy. See photo above for a visual.
      5. Spoon/pour batter evenly into each cake pan. Bake for around 22-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. Remember to rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure even baking. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
      6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon coconut milk/cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of milk/cream to thin out, if desired.
      7. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with a thin layer of frosting, then half of the lemon curd. Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with a thin layer of frosting, then the remaining lemon curd. Finish with the third cake layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Garnish the top with coconut and/or lemon slices. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
      8. Slice, serve, enjoy!


      1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake the next day when you are ready to serve. Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months if you have room in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Honestly, it tastes much better fresh.
      2. Flour: Do NOT use all-purpose flour in this coconut cake. Your cake will be too-dense, solid, and heavy. Make sure you are sifting the cake flour before measuring to aerate it and rid lumps. I strongly encourage you to just buy cake flour, but as an alternative you can make a DIY cake flour. For every 1 cup of flour in this recipe, remove 2 Tablespoons of it and add 2 Tablespoons cornstarch in its place. Sift at least 3-4 times, then use in the recipe.
      3. Milk: This recipe has been tested with equal parts coconut milk and buttermilk. If you can’t get ahold of coconut milk, you can use 1 cup of buttermilk instead. For a DIY version of buttermilk, add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole, skim, 1%, 2%) to make 1/2 cup total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe.
      4. More Lemon Flavor: To increase the lemon flavor, feel free to add the zest of 1 lemon to the coconut cake batter. Keep in mind that this will take away from the cake’s coconut flavor. Also optional for more lemon flavor: beat zest from 1 lemon into the cream cheese frosting.
      5. More Coconut Flavor: To increase the coconut flavor, feel free to use the optional coconut extract listed. And/or you can add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the frosting.
      6. Sheet Cake: The batter makes a perfect sheet cake! Simply spread into a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. It also fits nicely into a 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.


      A big thank you to Sally’s baking addiction for sharing this 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

      Vanilla Bean French Toast

      Vanilla Bean French Toast

      This is the perfect recipe for Easter brunch. Make it ahead the night before, and then just pop it into the oven. Top it with your favorite syrup or try our buttery vanilla syrup on the blog. I love to add fresh berries when ready to serve. Whatever’s in season is always great! 


      • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
      • 1 loaf challah or brioche, about 1 lb. (500 g), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) slices
      • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
      • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) half-and-half
      • 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
      • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
      • Kosher salt
      • 1 VanillaPura Madagascar vanilla bean, split lengthwise
      • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) maple syrup
      • 2 tsp. VanillaPura Madagascar/ rum vanilla extract
      • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) fresh raspberries
      • 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) sliced almonds
      • confectioners sugar for dusting


      Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish. Set aside.

      Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast until the bread is lightly golden brown and dry, about 7 minutes, flipping the slices about halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the bread slices to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

      In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. With the tip of a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the egg mixture and whisk to combine; reserve the vanilla bean halves. In batches, dip the bread slices into the egg mixture, turning the slices to coat them evenly and letting the bread sit in the bowl for about 2 minutes to absorb the liquid.

      Arrange the bread slices in the prepared baking dish, overlapping them slightly. Pour any remaining egg mixture in the bowl evenly over the bread in the dish. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

      Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

      Transfer the dish, still covered with the foil, to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the dish, increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue baking until the French toast is puffed up and browned, about 15 minutes more.Top with your favorite syrup and fresh berries.

      Thanks Williams Sonoma for sharing this recipe. It's delish!




      rich and buttery vanilla syrup

      rich and buttery vanilla syrup

      I’ve posted so many yummy breakfast/brunch recipes that would go perfect with this rich buttery vanilla syrup. My friend Mindi gave us this syrup for Christmas in the cutest little vintage jar. It is "THE" syrup for just about everything.  Its rich, buttery, and vanilla goodness will have your guests coming back for more!



      1. 1 cup sugar
      2. ½ cup butter
      3. ½ cup buttermilk
      4. ½ teaspoon baking soda
      5.  2 teaspoons VanillaPura Madagascar/rum vanilla extract


      1. Melt butter over low heat in a 3 quart sauce pan.
      2. Add Sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda. Stirring consistently, turn the heat up to medium, and bring to a boil.
      3. Remove from the heat a stir in the VanillaPura extract
      4. Serve immediately on pancakes, waffles, or french toast.


      Thanks to the white apron for sharing




      Raspberry Vanilla Cream French Crepes

      Raspberry Vanilla Cream French Crepes

      Ahhh... French crepes for a Sunday brunch in March? Yes, please!

      So what is the trick to making a perfect French crepe? It is to pour the batter into a very hot 10 inch skillet/pan while tipping the pan.  This method will create those perfect thin and crispy crepes you crave. You’ll probably get about 12 crepes. I’ve been told that covered in plastic wrap they can last up to 2 days. Mine never last that long!

       Load them up with really, whatever you want. The options are limitless!

      But… if you're looking for something tried and true, you need to try this raspberry vanilla cream filling.  Don’t forget to include a fruity bubbly mimosa. The perfect companion to the French crepe. Enjoy!



      • 1 3/4 cup flour
      • 3 eggs
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 1 teaspoon sugar
      • 2 cups milk (I used 1% - do not use skim but other kinds will do)
      • 2 tablespoons melted butter
      • Extra butter for skillet
      • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
      • 1 tsp VanillaPura Madagascar/rum vanilla extract
      • pinch salt
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 1 cup powdered sugar (divided) plus extra for dusting
      • fresh raspberries



      1. In a large bowl combine the flour, eggs, salt, vanilla, butter and sugar
      2. Whisk in the milk gradually until it is a smooth batter with no lumps
      3. Heat a lightly buttered 10" skillet over medium/high heat
      4. Scoop about 1/4 cup batter in center of pan then swirl and rotate so batter covers the bottom of the skillet
      5. The crepes will take about 1-2 minutes per side until brown
      6. Cook all crepes (lightly butter pan between making each crepe)
      7. Make filling by beating the whipped cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form then set aside
      8. In mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth then add in 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, Madagascar vanilla and salt and mix well
      9. Fold in the whipped cream
      10. Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla cream on crepe and roll up
      11. Top with fresh raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar


      Thanks to Cooking on the Front Burners for sharing this recipe.