Monday, August 27, 2012


collage made in pixlr

can vanilla bean past change your life? Um, yes.

my sweet brother-in-law rupert in los angeles has a wonderful friend, linda k., who is the international rep for heilala vanilla.

he kindly hooked us up and recently some very high-end new zealand-born heilala vanilla bean paste made its way into my greedy hands. it was just what i needed to get me to dust off the old kitchen aid and make some vanilla bean cupcakes, using this great recipe from

i paired it with a homemade vanilla bean buttercream and they came out gorgeously. and deliciously, if i do say so myself.

the batter is ridiculously tempting. i wanted to eat it all with a spoon.

but i didn't.

the cupcakes baked perfectly at 18 minutes. they were dense and moist, and the vanilla bean paste added such a fresh home made taste.

i normally don't splurge on high-end baking products, but i'm starting to think it's completely and totally worth it. (watching a recent episode of 3 days to  open with bobby flay also confirms this.)

i'm planning to make more of these easy cupcakes this week, and use up the terrific leftover vanilla bean buttercream icing. it's so lovely, with the flecks and all.

it just doesn't get any better than a freshly baked cupcake using really good ingredients.

you can find heilala online at williams, at bristol farms and at

thanks to rupe and linda k. for getting me back in the kitchen after a short hiatus. after making these, i've got my groove back, y'all.

ps if you are a Nashville baker and would like a sample of this fine vanilla, look me up and i'll see what i can do. i'm not being paid to promote this, i just like to help, and it's truly awesome vanilla. tell me what you think.

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