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I love to bake and try to every week. My four year old is often right next to me making breads and muffins and other treats. Before the holidays we bake and make a ton! We share sweets as gifts with our neighbors and friends.
A few weeks ago I was contacted and later sent ingredients from Vermont Vanilla. Vanilla is a key ingredient in all of my baking and for years my mother has told me to only “use the best vanilla”. I was excited and ready to try Vermont Vanilla!
Let me tell you a little bit about Vermont Vanilla founder Audrey Pietrucha. Audrey lives in Bennington with her husband and three grown children (and two labs!). As a passionate baker she found that making her own vanilla was both creatively satisfying and brought a great richness to her baking. After adapting her recipe this summer by adding rum to the vodka she had the perfect extract to start sharing and selling. Vermont Vanilla debuted at the Wilmington Farmer’s Market in September and received a very positive response.
Vermont Vanilla’s mint extract is perfect. Audrey shares the process with us: “I am especially proud of the raspberry and mint extracts because they are made with fruit and peppermint grown in my own garden. The mint extract is simply fresh or dried peppermint steeped in vodka for at least a month. If you steep it less than three weeks the taste is too sharp. After a month it mellows and starts to smell wonderful.” I used the mint extract to make homemade ice cream. Mint, cream, milk, sugar, and chocolate chips. This may be the best ice cream I have ever made! The mint is smooth. Like Audrey said, it’s not sharp at all. I am currently looking for mint cookie and fudge recipes just to use Vermont Vanilla’s mint extract again.
This weekend I made holiday cookie dough with Vermont Vanilla. I made a traditional chocoate chip cookie and added red and green M&Ms. I then wrapped the dough as a small log and froze it. We will share this dough so our friends can make “Cookies for Santa”. I had to try a cookie or two to make sure the dough was okay. Vermont Vanilla adds a great depth of flavor. Thanks to Audrey for helping make our holiday cookies extra special this year!
Stay in touch with Audrey and Vermont Vanilla by following her blog. There you will find great recipes this holiday season. You can purchase Vermont Vanilla on Etsy. Stock up for your holiday baking! Enter below to win Vermont Vanilla!