Do you agree with me and the Barenaked Ladies that vanilla is the finest of the flavors? If you do, and/or if you remember that song, you should definitely make some vanilla-infused gifts this holiday season.
Vanilla sugar can be used anywhere you would use granulated sugar, but it’s especially wonderful as a finishing sugar, sprinkled on top of cakes, cupcakes, creme brulee, homemade caramels, or ice cream. You can also put it in your coffee or tea for a delicious touch of creamy sweetness. Are you sold on vanilla sugar yet? If not, I’m not sure what to do with you! You can even make it with coconut sugar for a paleo-friendly vanilla treat. You know you want to!
If you love sweet and salty flavors together, you will love this vanilla sea salt. I made mine with Celtic gray coarse sea salt, and it’s strikingly beautiful, fragrant, and complex. You can sprinkle it on top of any dessert that needs a salty finish (like these cupcakes or these bars), or even try adding it to savory dishes. I used a bunch in a batch of chocolate bark I made last night, and it was amazing (recipe coming soon)! Once you make this, you’ll realize that salt and vanilla are meant to be together. You’ll start wishing all your vanilla were salted, and all your salt vanilla-ed.
I made a bunch of little jars of vanilla sugar to give out as favors to all my friends and family who are coming for Thanksgiving. I love the idea of giving guests something delicious that they can take home and use for a long time. Both of these would also make great stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and wedding favors. The best part is that they only take about five minutes to make!
Happy May Day! My favorite month of the year has arrived. To celebrate May, and my one-month blogiversary, I decided to make this delicious salted caramel sauce adapted from Two Peas and their Pod. Now that I have two jars full of this stuff, I can make these salted caramel skillet brownies and my life will be complete.
I used coconut milk in my version because I had some and wanted to see if it would work–it did! You will not taste the coconut at all. I have a theory that the sauce is slightly healthier with this modification (if you gloss over the huge amounts of sugar and butter). I also added vanilla, which gives the sauce greater depth.
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe
Yield: About 2 cups
Total time: 20 minutes
2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup coconut milk or heavy cream
1-3 teaspoons sea salt, to taste (I used Maldon)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Get all your ingredients ready so you won’t have to scramble while you’re making the caramel–it burns really easily!
Heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the sugar starts melting, whisk it until fully melted. Then, swirl the saucepan around until the sugar turns a deep amber color or measures 350 on a candy thermometer. My caramel was a pretty deep color by the time all the sugar melted, so I just stopped right there. I don’t have a candy thermometer and really didn’t want to burn it. Good news–it turned out great : ).
Add the butter and whisk until fully melted. Off the heat, add the coconut milk or cream, salt, and vanilla and stir until smooth. If your caramel is stubborn, reheat over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until it smooths out.
Let the caramel cool for about ten minutes in the pot, then pour into jars and cool to room temperature. Stored in the refrigerator, this sauce keeps for about a month. However, I don’t think mine is going to last that long.
Any other ideas about how to use this fabulous sauce? I’m tempted to put it in or on everything, from my morning coffee to pizza. Someone stop me!
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