Friday, March 20, 2015

Recipe Weekend: Dessert for Two by Christina Lane Showcases Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and Almond Extract Perfectly!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book and products, free of charge,from Nielsen-Massey, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them.

Over 55 percent of American homeowners have embraced the downsizing movement (Chicago Tribune), and popular dessert blogger Christina Lane invites them to continue the trend by scaling down dessert recipes in her new, aptly-named cookbook:


When it comes to cooking for just two people, scaling down recipes is often a challenge, and finding dessert recipes that serve just two people is nearly impossible. 

From classics such as Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies and Red Velvet Cupcakes to new takes on old favorites such as Buttered Grits Cookies with Lime Glaze and Buttered Pecan Cream Puffs, each recipe is scaled down to serve just two people. Dessert for Two is the perfect cookbook for newlyweds, empty nesters, or anyone looking for a bit of portion control in their lives.

Lane encourages buying high-quality ingredients with which to bake and uses only name-brand ingredients when recipe testing. “When I use quality ingredients, I know I can trust the outcome of my recipes. Nielsen-Massey Vanillas makes my favorite vanilla extract – I can trust that the sweet, creamy vanilla flavor will shine through and enhance each of my recipes.”


When you think recipe for two, you tend to think 2 servings, but most of the recipes in this book actually make enough for double to triple that. As Christina says, you know you will want another piece of cake/more cookies, so having leftovers is always a good thing. I actually agree, as the smaller recipes allow for me to have enough for 4 people for dessert and a left over here and there! 

The recipes are very solid and using the quality ingredients, like the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, REALLY elevates them from simple to divine. Seriously, it is the ONLY vanilla I use now! It makes THAT much difference in a recipe. Their Pure Almond Extract was an eye opener as well! It REALLY makes recipes like the pound cakes below (try them with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for a strawberry shortcake that will make you forget about chocolate (at least for awhile, LOL) and Chinese Almond Cookies and Italian Cream Cake stand out among the others! Lane is correct, once you use quality ingredients like these, you will NOT go back to the fake imitation stuff! 

I was torn between sharing the Buttered Grits Cookie Recipe (SO Southern) and the Bruleed Lemon Bars with you as well- both are BEYOND yummy. Most of the recipes are her downsized take on Southern classics, like those, just like Grandma made, but updated. Her recipe for one dozen sugar cookies is divine (and I'll forgive her for making Texas shaped cookies, as she IS from Texas, LOL), and I'll be using it for cookies for Miss Grace's birthday party this week! And her recipe for a SMALL wedding cake? Perfection indeed! And you have to love a book that has MULTIPLE recipes for cooking in mason jar lids!- think how much fun you and the kids could have this Summer with those!  

You have to get this cookbook, just so you have an excuse to make dessert, without all the guilt from a huge cake sitting there saying 'eat me', and you do to keep it from going to waste! Think of it as part of your 'diet'. The less that is there, the less you are tempted! The book would also make a great housewarming, moving into first apartment, or wedding gift!

And now for that divine pound cake recipe!

In her Mini Sour Cream Pound Cakes recipe below, Lane recommends using Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Almond Extract,  to give the cakes a rich flavor. Making just four mini cakes, this southern favorite is perfect for sharing with someone special.

mini pound cakes

Mini Sour Cream Pound Cakes 

Courtesy of  Dessert for Two , Yield: 4 individual cakes 

¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract 
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons (45 mL) full-fat sour cream
½ cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place cupcake liners in four cups along the edge of a muffin pan.
2. In a medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined. Next, add the whole egg, egg yolk, and sour cream and beat until combined.
3. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and salt on top of the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined; do not over mix.
4. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. 
5. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. It’s okay to remove the pound cakes when moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake, and the tops appear slightly damp. 
6. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 

Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also offers a full line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are All-Natural, Allergen-Free, and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.  


  1. Nice recipe. I would love to try Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, I've seen it at whole foods. My fav extracts are vanilla and almond, and also anise and lemon.

  2. I would love to use this brand's vanilla and almond extracts to make this recipe - I'm not sure how often person makes a recipe because they love the extract, but here is one recipe that it is great to use the best!


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