Sunday, August 5, 2012

All things vanilla

and when I say vanilla I mean vanilla not the imitation stuff you see in the stores. I love vanilla I haven't always liked it and I never used it much other then in baking, and then I will admit I used the imitation stuff. I got married a year ago and at my wedding we had vanilla bean cupcakes ( let me just say yummmmmo) When I find the recipe I will post it for you guys. The recipe called for vanilla beans. While on my hunt for them at the store I realized two things one you can only really buy them two at a time , two they are expensive the cheapest I found was 9 bucks for 2 beans. I needed way more than two. I ended up finding them at a good price online. I even got a 1/4 lb of Tahitian vanilla beans for free. Score!!! Wedding came cupcakes made and I still have a bunch of vanilla beans left so I found some very tasty recipes for the leftovers.

Vanilla extract:

Take a cup of vodka ( you can also use rum if desired) 
2-3 vanilla beans 

Using a paring knife. Cut the bean starting 1/2 in. from the top and slice it all the way to the end. Do the same to the remaining 2 beans. Place the beans in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the vodka and push the beans down until they are completely submerged. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for at least a month. Shake the jar once a week. The flavor will get stronger as it sits. You will see the vodka turning a nice dark amber color. Flavor should be good and perfect to use after about 2 months. As you use it up you can top the jar off with more vodka replacing the beans as they lose flavor ( normally around 3-6 months) 

Vanilla sugar: ( probably one of my favorites)

2 vanilla beans
2 cups of sugar

Using a paring knife cut the vanilla beans down the middle from end to end. Scrap the seeds out and put both the pods and the seeds in a airtight container with the sugar and shake. Add more sugar as  you use to the sugar. As you use vanilla in other recipes throw the scrap pod into the sugar instead of throwing it out. Shake once a week. 

I use the vanilla sugar in all baking recipes in my coffee in just about everything!!!!! I love it and it smells Divine. 

Vanilla salt: 

make just like the sugar but use salt instead of sugar. You can use this baking recipes also. this is also good for adding some sweetness to more savory dishes. This is great on fish and chicken.

Vanilla coffee:

Blend dried pods with fresh coffee beans, or stick some dried pods in your jar of instant coffee

Vanilla tea:

Cut up a pod and mix with tea leaves. store in a air tight container and let mature for a few weeks in a cool dark place. 

 Now that you know of some super yummy things to do with vanilla beans DO NOT THROW YOUR USED PODS AWAY. There are so many more uses for them. All of my used pods go right into my vanilla sugar. Throw them in your sugar, salt, coffee ( grind em up) or leave em in the container. Explore the many wonders of the vanilla bean!!!

 These are just some of my favorite things to do with the beans if you know of any other things that are good and yummy leave a comment let me know I always love new things to try.

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