Messy and tedious. Also fun.

I write to you while hopped up on a serious dose of endorphins. For some reason, I’ve experienced quite an increase in energy this week…and I’m taking full advantage. Lots of sweaty yoga and zumba have been on my schedule. And some romps on the treadmill. A strange spike in my physical activity.

But I like it.

And of course, I’ve taken this crazy burst of energy into the kitchen. In lovely act of generosity, my mother spent a significant amount of money on a whole vanilla bean at MOM’s so that I could make Vanilla Bean Cupcakes. I once again dipped into the recipe archives of How Sweet it Is, flipped on some Snoop, and proceeded to coat the counter tops, the floor, and my yoga pants in powdered sugar and butter.

While the baking process for these cupcakes looks messy and haphazard, I promise that this recipe calls for patience and delicacy. And steady hands. Scraping a vanilla bean is tedious work, my friends.

Behold:

Turn the flash OFF, Sarah.

I spent a good 8 minutes, newly sharpened knife in hand, slicing this baby open, and scraping it with the tip of my knife to collect as many vanilla beans as I could. Alas, most ended up on my fingers.

But I was determined to get my mother’s 10 dollars’ worth out of this thing. Somehow, I got the beans to cooperate. Into the batter and frosting they went.

And while covered in chunks of powdered sugar-coated butter, I managed to spoon the batter into a cupcake tin. Apparently, my mind cannot distinguish between cupcakes and muffins, for my final products look more like what Starbucks serves every morning, rather than delicate, cutesy desserts.

However, after slathering them with the frosting, all was right with the world.

Besides, who says that cupcakes have to conform to an unrealistic standard of cuteness?

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