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Blogger Spotlight

The Vanilla Bean Blog on Puff Pastry, Cacao Nibs and No-Churn Ice Cream

Sarah Kieffer of the Vanilla Bean Blog

Sarah Kieffer of the Vanilla Bean Blog. Photo © Adam Kieffer

Here, the blogs you should be reading right now with recipes and tips from their creators.

The Blog: Sarah Kieffer started the Vanilla Bean Blog to develop and chronicle a repertoire of family recipes.

After a few years of blogging, do you now have some go-to recipes? What are they?
Goat Cheese Pasta is a meal I make often; it’s easy to throw together, and I change up the added vegetables seasonally. Sopa de Maiz and Skillet Roasted Chicken With Grapefruit–Rosemary Pan Sauce are also go-to recipes. We make No-Churn Ice Cream (too) frequently at our house; it’s simple to make, and the possibilities are endless. Fig–and–coffee ice cream is a personal favorite.

What is your current ingredient obsession?
I’ve been obsessed with cacao nibs for a long time; I just can’t get enough of chocolate in its purest form. Cookies, cakes, candy, salads, granola, pizza—I love how they work in both sweet and savory recipes alike. Pumpkin Muffins with Cacao Nibs and Whole-Wheat Flour are what I usually eat for breakfast.

You like to Pin. A lot! Any favorite sources of inspiration? What are you pinning a lot of these days?
Pinterest is terribly addicting! I pin a lot of everything, but I love pinning to my photography boards, and especially my food photography board. Beth from Local Milk is the queen of Pinterest, and I find a lot of inspiration in her pins (as well as her photography). Reclaiming Provincial, Hortus Natural Cooking, Top with Cinnamon, Princess Tofu and Sprouted Kitchen are all food blogs I love to pin from; such gorgeous photographs.

Any types of recipes you want to conquer in 2014?
I just started making my own puff pastry (I think Sarabeth Levine’s recipe is amazing) and love everything about it. The folds, the turns, the smell of the dough; the whole process is a great experience, and mastering it is on my to-do list. I also just received Tartine Bread, and have my bread starter going as of this week. So I hope to have some beautiful loaves of bread coming out of my oven by the end of 2014.

What food blogs are you loving right now?
Seven Spoons is fantastic—such good writing and recipes. Apt 2B Baking Co is just lovely. Zoe Bakes is another great space; her recipes are spot on, and her step-by-step photo tutorials are so helpful. The Faux Martha and My Darling Lemon Thyme are also favorite stops.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: My Darling Lemon Thyme on Eating Gluten- and Dairy-Free
Princess Tofu’s Secret to Awesome Vegetarian Food
Delightful Crumb on Her Obsession with Ordinary Cake

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