I can’t remember the last time I baked a batch of cookies from scratch and the reason is simple: pre-made dough. It’s unbelievably tempting — mostly because it helps resolve the issue of “hanger” that much quicker, and not because all you have to do is literally, cut, bake, eat. That’s right. I’m a veteran dough-eater and salmonella is not enough of a concern to make me stop. Stupid? Maybe. Perhaps I should try my hand at from-scratch baking again and give these (eggless!) salted chocolate-pretzel peanut butter cookies a whirl, because with a recipe title like that, Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes clearly knows how to mix things up in the kitchen. Phew. Potential, life-threatening crisis averted. Let’s eat.
NAME Ashlae W.
ESTABLISHED Late 2011
What inspired you to start Oh, Ladycakes? Is there a story behind the name of your blog?
Oh, Ladycakes was the product of spending too much time in the kitchen and needing some sort of creative outlet for all the recipes that were coming out of it. When I first started dating Thom in 2007 (who will become my husband this summer) (!), he was quick to give me the nickname ladycakes – which had nothing to do with cake-making and it was totally coincidental that I eventually started baking like a mad woman. I always knew, if I ever started a blog – no matter what the theme – I’d somehow incorporate the ladycakes moniker to pay homage to my #1 fan.
Your last homemade batch of (very appropriately dubbed) “real deal vanilla extract” sold out in just under three hours. What prompted you to start making it from scratch? What’s the process like? (And a big, huge high-five on the packaging).
You know, it’s funny. We were living in a pretty shitty apartment at the time, and had no extra funds to spend on pure vanilla extract (I, admittedly, was using imitation), so one day I was all I’M GONNA MAKE THIS ON MY OWN. Then I started my blog and people were like HEY! I WANT IN ON THAT. And so I started making bigger batches. Then bigger ones. And now my batch scheduled for December 2015 is going to be the biggest one yet. People keep trying to convince me to make it a regularly available item, but the economist in me won’t allow it to happen. At least not yet.
The process? It’s tedious. But knowing the final product is going to be used in kitchens all over the world is enough to keep the real deal vanilla momentum going. I usually spend two days “making it” and after that I allow the vanilla beans and vodka to mingle over the course of 12 months. When time is up, the bottling process takes place – which is done by me, on our too-tiny-for-vanilla-production dining room table. The most recent batch – the one that sold out in just under three hours – took an entire night and a day to bottle and package. It’d be a lot less work if I could somehow find a way to mechanize it, but I don’t think it’d be nearly as rewarding. Every bottle that goes out was made by me, from start to finish (labels included). And that’s pretty fucking awesome.