Decadent Cacao Recipes for Valentine's Day

Irene from the Mountain Rose Herbs Blog posted some delicious and decadent Cacao kissed beauty recipes for Valentine's Day.  My favorite is the Cacao & Vanilla Body Polish.  This delicious body scrub will leave your skin exfoliated and smooth with a shy scent of chocolate and vanilla.  I thought I would teach you how to make your own Vanilla extract too.  Make sure to visit the Mountain Rose Herbs Blog for all of Irene's Love Inspired Cacao Recipes.

Before we get to the recipe for the Cacao & Vanilla Body Polish, lets make our very own handcrafted Vanilla Extract.  This is so easy, you will wonder why you have been spending a fortune buying it from the store.

You will need 400 ml of 100 proof Vodka, 5 whole vanilla beans and a sterile 8 ounce canning jar with lid and ring.

You can find whole organic Vanilla Beans at Mountain Rose Herbs.
 You want to cut the beans in half and then slice them down the middle to expose the "caviar".  The mythology of the pre-Columbian Totonac tribe (who resided in what is now Mexico) refers to vanilla as an aphrodisiac, and it is still used for that purpose in aromatherapy today. Vanilla's sweet, bland flavor is one of the most popular the world over, and while it is considered "plain", it is really a complex layering of sweet and spicy flavors that have been used for centuries to flavor everything from chocolate to milk.

 As a side note, if you want to make Vanilla sugar, you simply place the scraped "caviar" in raw sugar and pulse in a food processor a few times to infuse the sugar. Makes delicious desserts!!! Now back to the Vanilla extract........

Place the sliced and opened Vanilla beans in a sterile canning jar and add in about 400 ml of Vodka, or enough to cover the tops of the beans.  You will need to shake this daily for about 6 weeks or one full moon cycle.  You can either strain the dark liquid from the Vanilla pods into another jar, or you may leave the spent Vanilla pods in. This should keep fine for many years.

The photo above shows the batch I made today and one I made last year.  Make sure you label your Vanilla Extract.  Keep in a cool and dark place.  Are you ready to make the Cacao & Vanilla Body Polish?  Here is a label you can use for your jar.  Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Print this label for your jar.

Cacao & Vanilla Body Polish
(from Mountain Rose Herbs
3/4 cup organic granulated or brown sugar, or fine sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond, or Sunflower Oil
1 tablespoon organic Cacao powder
1 to 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Essential oil of choice (optional). Cinnamon leaf, Geranium, Lavender, Lime, Mandarin, Peppermint, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Ylang Ylang or other. 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Package in jars and enjoy!!!