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Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Vanilla Extract Brands for Baking

Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Want to learn how to make meringues? This meringue cookie is light, airy morsels and the perfect fat-free treat to really beat a sweets craving. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Get Recipe

Best Vanilla Cake

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Best Vanilla Cake

There’s a reason this vanilla cake recipe is the best. Adding creamy vanilla bean paste into the moist, rich cake batter creates a power-packed vanilla flavor that can’t be bought in stores. Try spreading vanilla buttercream frosting on top to finish it off. —Margaret Knoebel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sugar Cream Pie

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Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it “Hoosier” sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana

Very Vanilla Slow-Cooker Cheesecake

Very Vanilla Slow-Cooker Cheesecake

Cinnamon and vanilla give this cheesecake so much flavor, and making it in the slow cooker creates a silky, smooth texture that’s hard to resist. —Krista Lanphier, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

After trying a few buttercream frosting recipes, this easy buttercream frosting takes the cake with its unmatchable homemade taste. With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors. —Diana Wilson, Denver, Colorado

Vanilla-Glazed Ginger Scones

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Vanilla-Glazed Ginger Scones

Gingerbread is a flavor that works with all sorts of delicious holiday baked goods. To glaze these ginger scones, just dip a fork or spoon into the glaze mixture and then drizzle over the tops. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia

Chilean Monkey Tail Punch

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Chilean Monkey Tail Punch

Stories vary surrounding the origins of this punch’s unique name. Some say it was initially served in a bottle depicting a monkey with a long tail, but others suggest it was named after a funny incident with a Chilean president in the early 1900s. Whatever the origin, coffee and spirits will make this sweet chilled drink warm you right up this Christmas. It also goes by “cola de mono.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Vanilla Citrus Cider

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Vanilla Citrus Cider

My mom used to make cider for the holidays, so I based my citrus-vanilla variation on her recipe. I think it hits the spot! The longer the cider simmers, the stronger the flavors will be.—Kristin Weglarz, Bremerton, Washington

Vanilla Cheesecake

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Vanilla Cheesecake

To me, there is nothing better than a simple, elegant cheesecake where the vanilla takes center stage. And when I’m feeling decadent, I’ll add the rich chocolate ganache topping. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Mini Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies

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Mini Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies

I love baking cookies to give as gifts to my family and friends. I created this recipe for my annual holiday cookie platter and it received rave reviews from both children and adults. If the buttercream doesn’t come together after all of the butter has been incorporated, add some shortening one tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to transform. —Julie Thomas, Saukville, Wisconsin

Best Ever Bread Pudding

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Best Ever Bread Pudding

The secret to incredible bread pudding with a soft middle and crisp edges starts with leftover dinner rolls. I picked up the rich brown sugar sauce recipe from my friend Kathryn Gartmann. A big drizzle of it takes this dessert over the top and really makes it the best bread pudding ever. —Maria Petrella, Taste of Home Prep Cook

Hoka Cheesecake

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Hoka Cheesecake

The Hoka Cheesecake, named for a beloved local theater, is pretty addicting. It’s one of the first recipes I learned when I moved here. For a finishing touch, I sprinkle a few crust crumbs on top. —Beth Ziegenhorn, Oxford, Mississippi

Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

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Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake is everyone’s favorite blank slate for making awesome desserts. Serve it with a simple glaze or pile on fresh fruit, chocolate sauce or nutty sprinkles. —Leah Rekau, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Vanilla Crescents

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Vanilla Crescents

These cookies are especially cozy at Christmastime, but are wonderful all year long. Try them dipped into hot tea or coffee.—Cara McDonald, Winter Park, Colorado

Potluck Candied Sweet Potatoes

Potluck Candied Sweet Potatoes

To make it easier to bring this traditional southern staple to a potluck or gathering, I updated it so that it can be cooked in a slow cooker. It’s hard to go wrong with candied sweet potatoes when it comes to pleasing a crowd. —Deirdre Dee Cox, Kansas City, Missouri

Pear-Stuffed French Vanilla Toast

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Pear-Stuffed French Vanilla Toast

My handyman, who is originally from Nicaragua, shared this classic breakfast dish his mother use to prepare. He says he makes it frequently for his children and they clean their plates! —Gail Borczyk, Boca Raton, Florida

Pina Colada Zucchini Bread

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Pina Colada Zucchini Bread

At my husband’s urging, I entered this recipe at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and won first place! I think you’ll love the cakelike texture and tropical flavors. —Sharon Rydbom, Tipton, Pennsylvania

Vanilla Frosting

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Vanilla Frosting

Don’t know how to make icing for cake but don’t want to settle for store-bought frosting? This four-ingredient easy vanilla frosting recipe is the perfect topper for your cakey creations. The homemade taste just can’t be beat. —Mary Faulk, Cambridge, Wisconsin

Creamy Caramels

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Creamy Caramels

I discovered this caramel recipe in a local newspaper years ago and have made these soft buttery caramels ever since. I make them for Christmas, picnics and charity auctions—and they are so much better than store-bought caramels. Once people have a taste, they ask for the recipe. —Marcie Wolfe, Williamsburg, Virginia

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

We don’t want to brag, but as far as vanilla ice cream recipes go, this one is the best. And with only four ingredients, it just might be the easiest, too. No ice cream maker? No problem. Just follow the directions below to learn how to make homemade ice cream by hand. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Cream Wafers

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Cream Wafers

My sons used to help me make these cookies, and now my oldest granddaughter helps. When the smaller grandchildren are home, they help, too. The cute little sandwich cookies are tender, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good! —Linda Clinkenbeard, Vincennes, Indiana

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

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Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

We love using this simple vegan vanilla cupcake recipe as a base to layer on extra flavor. Stir in grated orange zest and chopped pecans, vegan chocolate chips and cinnamon, or your own favorite mix-ins. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Skillet Cinnamon Rolls

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Skillet Cinnamon Rolls

I love using cast iron to get a nice crust on these skillet cinnamon rolls! The pan also makes an impressive serving dish on the table without it looking as if you tried too hard. —Danielle Williams, Newport, Rhode Island

Vanilla Almond Hot Cocoa

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Vanilla Almond Hot Cocoa

Treat your family to this comforting, homemade cocoa as you decorate the tree or open holiday gifts. Vanilla and almond extracts make it taste even more special. —Vicki Holloway, Joelton, Tennessee

Glazed Apple-Maple Blondies

Glazed Apple-Maple Blondies

My 6-year-old son and I conjured up this recipe to use up the last of the apples we picked from the local apple orchard. Serve it with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. —Heather Bates, Athens, Maine

Sweetened Whipped Cream

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Sweetened Whipped Cream

Whipped cream recipes don’t have to be hard. This one can even be made ahead. Slightly underwhip the cream, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. Beat briefly just before using.

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

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Vanilla Wafer Cookies

These buttery cookies bake up chewy and crispy at the same time. Sprinkle these vanilla wafers with colored sugar or leave them as-is. Their simplicity is beauty enough! —Edith MacBeath, Gaines, Pennsylvania

Blue-Ribbon Butter Cake

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Blue-Ribbon Butter Cake

I found this buttercake recipe in an old cookbook I bought at a garage sale and couldn’t wait to try it. I knew it had been someone’s favorite because of the well-worn page. —Joan Gertz, Palmetto, Florida

About Sandy

Sick of eating steamed vegetables time after time? Tired of making the same old meals? Make things exciting and fun, and explore vegetarian cooking with the recipes in this book. Don’t think that ‘meat’ can’t be part of your vegetarian diet! Even if you’re just interested in vegetarian dishes, you can make your own ‘meat’. You hear me! “Make your own meat!” I will show you the traditional Chinese way of making vegetarian meat. The possibilities are endless after you learn how! You can make Kung Po Chicken, Soft Blow Kidney, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and so much more. Learn and digest the recipes in this book. Then get creative, make your own dishes, and really explore vegetarian cooking.

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