Apple Dip


8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. VAIN Vanilla (I used Tanzanian Vanilla in Spiced Rum)


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a spoon, or hand mixer, until smooth. Serve immediately with sliced apples. Keeps in refrigerator for up to a week.

VAIN Products Used: 

Apple Dip

Baked Apple Cider Donuts


1 and 1/2 cups apple cider
2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature*
1 teaspoon Vain Mexican vanilla extracted in Apple Brandy

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Reduce the apple cider: Stirring occasionally, simmer the apple cider in a small saucepan over low heat until you're left with about 1/2 cup. Start checking at 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc until you have 1/2 cup. Mine takes about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Make the donuts: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together. Pour into the wet ingredients, add the reduced apple cider, and whisk everything together until smooth and combined. Batter will be slightly thick.

Spoon the batter into the donut cavities—for ease, I highly recommend using a large zipped-top bag. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling about halfway.

Bake for 10-11 minutes or until the edges and tops are lightly browned. To test, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut bounces back, they're done. Cool donuts for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Re-grease the pan and bake the remaining donut batter.

Coat the donuts: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl. Once cool enough to handle, dunk both sides of each donut in the melted butter, then generously in the apple spice topping.

Donuts are best served immediately. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Make ahead tip: You can freeze the donuts, coated or not coated in the toppings, for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up to your liking in the microwave. 

VAIN Products Used: 

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Banana Bread


1/2 cup solid crisco shortening

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. VAIN Vanilla Extract of your choice ( I love Bourbon)

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup chopped pecans


Yield: 2 loaves.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Add to creamed mixture. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into 2 well-greased loaf pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Freezes well. 

VAIN Products Used: 

Banana Bread

Banana Pudding


4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs, separated

2 cups half-and-half

1 T VAIN vanilla extract

Approximately 45 vanilla wafers

1 pinch cream of tartar


Toss the banana slices and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour and salt in a 3-quart thick bottomed sauce pot. Add the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 172 to 180 degrees F, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Place a layer of the vanilla wafers in a 1.5 qt glass mixing bowl or similar pyrex dish.  Cover withal of the pudding and half of the bananas.  Repeat the procedure with another layer of wafers and the remaining pudding and bananas. Finish with a layer of vanilla wafers.

Cool completely before refrigerating. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue over the cold pudding, being sure to cover the edges.  Brown meringue under the broiler or with a blowtorch and serve.

VAIN Products Used: 

Banana Pudding

Blackberry Slab Pie Bars


pie crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 and a half sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavor Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup ice water


  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp Instant Clearjel thickener (substitute 1 Tbsp cornstarch)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp Vain Madagascar Vanilla extracted in Vodka


  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp Vain Madagascar Vanilla extracted in Vodka
  • water for thinning

Start by making the crust. Pulse the flour and salt a few times in a food processor to combine. Add the cold chunks of butter and shortening to the bowl and pulse about 20 times until the mixture is grainy.

Add the ice water, a little at a time, while continuing to pulse, until the dough just comes together when you pinch it between your fingers. Stop the machine to check it. NOTE: you may not need all of the water, but I always do.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together into a ball. If there is still any remaining dry flour make sure to knead that into the dough to get it all incorporated. If your dough is too sticky, add a touch more flour.

Cut the ball of dough in half, form two flat rectangles, and wrap each one in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours (or overnight) before rolling it out.

While the dough is chilling make the filling. This step can also be made the day before if you like. Put the berries into a saucepan. Mix the sugar and Clearjel thickener together and add to pan along with the lemon juice. Starting on low and then increasing the heat to medium high, cook the berries until they start to soften and the sugar has dissolved. Mash the berries with a fork as they soften. Stir almost constantly.

Cook for about 8 minutes, or until it's the consistency of a runny jam. I like to mash most of the berries. Add Vain vanilla off the heat, stir to combine. Chill the filling until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Lay out a sheet of parchment large enough for a baking sheet and lightly flour it. Roll out one of the pieces of dough to (roughly) a 9x13 rectangle. Don't stress, if it's close, that's fine. It helps to let the dough rest for a few minutes to warm up slightly before trying to roll it out.

Spoon the jam over the top, leaving about an inch all around free.

Roll out the top crust, and carefully place over the jam filling, pressing down all around the edges to seal. if you've got excess dough you can roll it up a bit.

Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 40 minutes until golden. Let cool before glazing.

To make the glaze whisk or stir the sugar together with the water and Vain vanilla extract, until you get a glaze consistency. Brush it liberally over the top of the cooled pie. Let dry before slicing.

VAIN Products Used: 

Blackberry Slab Pie Bars

Blueberry Orange Corn Muffins


1 cup buttermilk 

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tsp orange zest

1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal (about 7 ounces) 

2 large eggs 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon

1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal (about 7 ounces) 

3/4 cup sugar 

1 tablespoon baking powder 

3/4 teaspoon fine salt 

1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (7 to 8 ounces; do not thaw) 

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, orange juice, orange zest, eggs and vanilla to blend. Combine 1 1/3 cups of the flour, the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a processor, about 30 seconds. Drop in the cold butter cubes. Using on/off turns, blend until the butter is cut in finely and the mixture resembles a coarse meal, stopping occasionally to check the size of the butter pieces, (they should be the size of rice kernels). Pour the dry ingredients over the buttermilk mixture. Using a thin, flexible spatula and a few quick strokes, fold the batter together, turning the bowl as you fold.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon flour and the frozen blueberries. Toss to coat the berries. Scatter the berries over the batter and fold in.
  4. Using a rounded 1/3 cup of batter for each muffin, fill the paper liners, mounding the batter in the center. Use a knife tip or spoon to reposition at least 1 berry so it is showing on top.
  5. Bake the muffins until puffed and browning at edges, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the muffins stand 5 to 10 minutes.  Lift the muffins out onto a rack and cool.
VAIN Products Used: 

Blueberry Orange Corn Muffins

Bourbon Pecan Dump Cake

  • butter (or nonstick spray for baking dish)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Uganda Vanilla Extracte in Kentucky Bourbon (vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (cold)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter or nonstick spray.

Make the base: Combine eggs, milk, Vain Ugandad Vanilla extracted in KY Bourbon, in a blender and blend until evenly combined, 1 minute. Add sugar, crème fraîche, flour, and salt and blend until smooth. Pour the custard into the prepared baking dish.

Make the cake mix: Whisk flour, pecans, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and sprinkle evenly over the custard. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate the butter evenly over the surface of the cake.

Bake until top is set around the edges but still wobbly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 30 minutes before serving.

Bourbon Pecan Dump Cake

Bourbon Vanilla Poundcake


1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup VAIN Vanilla extracted in Kentucky Bourbon

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

2 teaspoons whole butter

1 T granulated sugar


Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow yolk disappears.

Sift together flour and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with bourbon, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup tube pan.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 35 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

VAIN Products Used: 

Bourbon Vanilla Poundcake

Bourbon-Vanilla Creme Brûlée


1 large egg (at room temperature)

5 egg yolks

1/2 Cup sugar

3 Cups sugar

1 Tablespoon Vain Vanilla extracted in Bourbon


Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a mixer with a paddle attachment mix sugar, eggs, and egg yolks until thoroughly combined.  Heat heavy cream over medium until hot but not boiling, approx 200 degrees F. With mixer on low, slowly add hot cream to egg and sugar mixture until all has been incorporated.  Add VAIN vanilla.  Place 6 six ounce ramekins in a deep baking dish.  Evenly distribute the custard among the ramekins.  Add enough boiling water to the deep baking dish to come halfway up the ramekins.  Bake 35-40 minutes until custard is just set. Allow to cool then refrigerate till well chilled.  Sprinkle tops of each custard with approximately 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Using a torch, or under the broiler, quickly melt and brown the sugar.

VAIN Products Used: 

Bourbon-Vanilla Creme Brûlée