If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you will know that I have been a fan of lavender for quite a long time. It has become one of my favorite culinary herbs to create with. It’s (almost) savory flavor with just a pinch added to any baked good or meal is enough to make me melt!
I was browsing around The Spice House the other day getting ready to create a dish for THIS giveaway post and I came across Lavender Vanilla Sugar. What?! Sounded perfect for me so I ordered. But not before I ordered a few other unique spices to add to our repertoire. –> Vulcan Fire Salt, Chicago Old Town Premium Spiced Sugar to name a few.
The Spice House first opened its doors in 1957 and since that time, has flourished both as an online store as well as in its 5 locations throughout Chicago and Milwaukee. With over 600 products from 50 + different countries, you should be prepared to find spices, herbs, and extracts that you never knew existed. For someone that likes to change it up in the kitchen and create, this is a dream come true. Let’s just say, Alton Brown and Julia Childs have caught on and come to love this haven for both home cooks and heavy hitters around the county. You can check out Alton’s kind words as he featured owners Patty and Tom on his podcast, AltonBrowncast Episode 23. You know Alton Brown knows a good thing when he finds one!
Patty and Tom scour the world for the best ingredients and spices. From large farm collaboratives in exotic countries to boutique farmers specializing in items not sommercially produced, like the vanilla they purchase. They have a connection with a friend’s mother who happens to own a vanilla plantation in Tahiti, where only a limited amount of beans are produced and they’re very…very expensive. The Spice House receives 20 pound per month. The reason vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world? It can take up to 8 years to harvest one vanilla bean start to finish!
Many of the spices come in glass jars, but you can also order them in plastic bags. Their pricing is absolutely phenomenal. The gift boxes are both gorgeous and well thought out. You may just fall in love with them!
So back to that Lavender Vanilla Sugar that I bought. You would think, gosh, what is it flavored with. BUT the thing that sets it apart from so many other places is the fact that it is a blend. Yes, real vanilla bean, real lavender and real, pure sugar. Quality. And you can tell.
I took a simple cookie, a shortbread cookie and spruced it up with my new find and it turned out better than I could have ever expected. Why reinvent the wheel when you have others like Abby Dodge in the baking world that creates shortbread cookies to crumble over? I took this recipe for Vanilla Shortbread Cookies by Abby Dodge and made it my own.
Additions to the recipe
Add 1 tsp of fresh, pure culinary lavender.
Add 1 tsp of Lavender Vanilla Sugar from The Spice House
**Fold these two ingredients in after mixing batter together.
Lavender Vanilla Sugar Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 TBSP whole milk
1 TBSP softened butter
1 tsp Lavender Vanilla Sugar
Sprinkle of culinary lavender
Mix together confectioner’s sugar, milk, and butter. After cookies have cooled, ice cookies. Sprinkle on Lavender Vanilla Sugar and a touch of culinary lavender (if desired).
2 Incredibly lucky readers will win a delicious prize!!
1st Prize – $250.00 in spices, which includes Grill & BBQ Deluxe Gift Box Set, Bakers Spices Gift Box Set, Vanilla Bean Sugar, Chicago Old Town Premium Sugar, Vulcan’s Fire Salt, Chai Spices with Vanilla, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Dutched Cocoa Powder, Aleppo Pepper, AND a $100.00 gift card to The Spice House to find your favorites not on this list or try some new ones!
2nd Prize – The Signature Selection Gift Box Set, Chicago Old Town Premium Sugar, Fancy Onion Salt, Fancy Garlic Salt, Vanilla Bean Sugar, Tellicherry Black Peppercorns and a $50.00 gift card to The Spice House to find your favorites not on this list or try some new ones!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Make sure to check out all of the other wonderful posts of recipes using spices from The Spice House too!
Lime Water Ice by Souffle Bombay
Grilled Steaks with Thyme Mushrooms by Girl Carnivore
Dark Chocolate, Sunflower Seed & Grey Sea Salt Cookies by Little Kitchie
Cinnamon Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche Swirl by Mind over Batter
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Quesadillas with Vulcan Fire Salt Guacamole by Giggles, Gobbles & Gulps
Low-Carb Chicken Gyros with Tangy Tatziki Sauce by Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Chocolate Cherry Hand Pies by Real: The Kitchen and Beyond
Pear Lavender Lemon Drop Martini by Kelly Bakes
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza by We’re Parents!?
Homemade Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette with Heirloom Tomato Salad by Courtney’s Sweets
Iced Lavender Shortbread Cookies by The Vintage Mom
Old Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake by It’s a Keeper
**Disclosure: I was given a gift card to order spices as compensation for this post. My love for lavender and now Lavender Vanilla Sugar as well as all other thoughts and opinions are my own!