How To Make Vanilla Extract

How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

It’s been awhile since I did a how-to post, so here we are.  I bought some vanilla beans on an impulse in an unfamiliar grocery store while out of town (like you do) awhile ago, and then promptly crammed them into my baking supplies and left them for months because I was stumped about what to do with them.  The idea to make vanilla extract came upon me as I was planning my annual apple extravaganza, and oh, what a good idea it turned out to be.

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Pickle Bagels

Pickle Bagels

Yes, you read that right: pickle bagels.  I promise, I haven’t gone off the deep end (no more than usual, anyway).  Those of you who follow I Wanna Bake on Facebook might recall seeing Tasting Table’s recipe for pickle juice bread.  I was quite enamored of the idea or pickle-flavored bread, and I knew it would have to be recreated in some fashion.  Serendipitously, I still had the thought on my mind when I was going through one of my periodic musings on bagels ( like ya’ do).  In that moment, the pickle bagel was born.

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Breakfast Corn Buckle

Breakfast Corn Buckle

Apologies for my tardiness!  I just got back from a Midwestern road trip through Illinois and Michigan.  Yes, I probably should have written a post in advance so I wasn’t scrambling at the last minute, but I think by now you probably know how I roll.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins Made with Leftover Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins Made with Leftover Frosting

Apologies for the late post!  I’ve been struck with an acute case of laziness, so when 10:30 rolled around last night, I realized that there was no way this post was going up at normal time.  After a small bout of illness early in the weekend, I had a surprisingly productive Sunday, the fruits of which should be showing up on this blog in the coming weeks.  I guess it’s not surprise that I had to make up for all that productivity with a decent period of unencumbered sloth. 😉

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Red Velvet Beet Brownies

Red Velvet Beet Brownies

I bake interesting and delicious things all the time (if I do say so myself), but sometimes I just want some brownies.  I like them dense and fudgy with more chocolate chips inside than a brownie has any right to contain.  Boxed brownies with a mess of broken candy (known fondly around my home as “garbage brownies”) are a treat I rarely allow myself to indulge in these days.  However, garbage brownies wouldn’t make for a particularly interesting post, now would they?  That’s where red velvet and beets decided to barge into the picture.

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Leftover Frosting Cookies

Leftover Frosting Cookies

Recently, I made birthday cupcakes for a friend, and I found myself in a place I rarely end up: the place where you’ve made too much frosting and not enough cake to put it on.  I was thankful that I had plenty for the dozen cupcakes I made, but grimacing internally at the container of excess I now didn’t know what to do with.  Now that I’m making an effort to eat healthier, having extra frosting around the house has become more of a problem than a joy.  In the old days of careless abandon, I probably would have made more cupcakes to put it on, or used it as a dip, or just eaten it straight with a spoon (judge not, I know you would do it too).  Now, the choice is between being wasteful and throwing the extra out, or being creative and finding a good use for it.  As you might have guessed, this time I chose the latter.

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Vegan Apple Spice Cake

Vegan Apple Spice Cake

A couple months ago, my dad asked me if I knew any recipes for “vegan cake or cornbread” because he has a vegan guest coming over for Thanksgiving.  This was a simple enough request on the surface, but these days any request for a recipe has a strong potential to become a challenge.  I couldn’t just google vegan cake recipes; I had to make my own.

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Butter Battle Royale Heat 2

Butter Battle Royale Second Heat

I’ll bet that you’ve forgotten all about the Butter Battle Royale at this point.  I had every intention of doing this more frequently than once every six months, but things happen (tasty, tasty things, fortunately).  I was asked to make cookies for an event in my husband’s department at work, and he suggested that I do another cookie taste test since there would be more people than usual to participate.  The original plan was to test store-bought butters against each other, but I had a sneaking suspicion that there would be no noticeable difference, so I made the executive decision to change it up.  This time, I pitted Aldi brand butter against coconut oil.

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Frankenstein's Monster Cookies

Frankenstein’s Monster Cookies

This week, I was a bit stumped when it came to figuring out what to bake.  I had a few ideas, but none of them were grabbing my attention and making me excited to get into the kitchen.  Cheddar chili pepper dinner rolls?  Blah.  Vegan cake:  Meh.  The next chocolate chip cookie butter taste test?  Eh, I guess if there’s nothing else…  These thoughts loafed around my head all weekend until I started to resign myself to the idea of baking something boring or skipping the bakeventure entirely (I know, blasphemy).  Then I was reminded of my mother-in-law’s monster cookies.

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how to make brownies in a hotel microwave

How to Make Brownies in a Hotel Microwave

Last week, Josh and I went to Boston for a conference.  In anticipation of my impending separation from my beloved oven, I came up with a challenge for myself: bake brownies using only things that could be found at or around the hotel.  I did buy a bag of brownie mix (after all, there’s usually a good chance that you can find a CVS, grocery store, or convenience store somewhere near your hotel), but everything else I used could feasibly be found in the hotel.  The availability of some items, like the banana, will most likely be determined by whether your hotel offers free breakfast or not, but hey, I managed to make brownies from a kludge of things, so I’m going to choose to suspend some disbelief here.

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