Baking for a tea party is half the fun.  There is nothing I enjoy more than trying a new recipe for guests (especially when the recipes actually turn out!)  The key to great baking is great ingredients and in this post I want to talk about a very important ingredient in most tea party recipes.  The ingredient is Vanilla.

How important is vanilla?  How do you choose vanilla extract?  Is it best to work with vanilla bean?  Do you need to  find great vanilla bean recipes?

I too had all of these questions but then I discovered the Vanilla Queen.  This lady has the inside handle on vanilla.  She shares the good, the bad and the ugly.  For instance, did you know that often times vanilla is “pumped up” with additional flavorings to enhance it’s taste?  These enhancements are usually left unlisted on the ingredients label. 

Choosing a great vanilla extract will turn every tea party menu into a delectable treat.  It should be a staple in your tea party pantry. 

Take a peek at this video on the Vanilla Queen and her amazing products as featured on the Daily

Here is a great brownie recipe featuring Rain’s Choice vanilla from the Vanilla Queen

 Tea Talk  Brownies



1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, cut into small chunks or

Guittards chocolate pistoles

6 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate

6 extra-large eggs

2 tablespoons Rain’s Choice vanilla extract

2-1/4 cups sugar

1-1/4 cups unbleached flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt



Butter a 12 x 18 x 1 inch baking sheet, then line with parchment.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour and then add them to the chocolate batter. Allow the batter to rest for 15 – 30 minutes. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Move to a rack and cool for 2 minutes. Slide brownies on parchment paper out of the pan and onto the rack and allow to cool thoroughly. Refrigerate until cold, then cut into squares or cut into quite “tea time” shapes and share with guests.


Check out the Vanilla Queeen’s Blog and Website :

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