The Truth About Vanilla
Vanilla is one of the most luxurious and expensive ingredients in any baker’s pantry. It comes in a variety of forms, ranging from pure to imitation. Everyone should know that vanilla isn’t colourless. When you see little specks of brown in ice cream, it’s a solid hint
it was made with real vanilla beans. Real vanilla equals more flavour.
Vanilla Beans – If you want the most flavour, opt for vanilla beans. They are often packaged in airtight tubes for maximum flavour and they should be fresh. When fresh, they have a smooth texture. They should never be dry or brittle. To use, split the bean and scrape out the seeds. They are ideal for making ice cream, adding to batter for cakes or combining with heavy cream to make whipping cream or custards.
Pure Vanilla Extract – The classic baker’s ingredient is made by soaking vanilla pods in a combination of alcohol and water to extract the natural flavours and oils of the pod. In the process, the natural brown colour of vanilla is also extracted. A great product
for baking and cooking.
Vanilla Extract (Imitation) – The clear vanilla extract found in most grocery stores is not made with vanilla but relies on a mix of clove oil, pine bark and even paper-industry by-products. OK in a pinch but don’t expect pure vanilla flavours.
WHO SAYS VANILLA IS BORING?
These cocktails made with beer and spirits infused with vanilla flavour make decadently delicious cocktails that are anything but ‘vanilla.’
Place 1 scoop French vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup heavy cream in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a cocktail glass. Top with 1/4 cup Fuller’s London Porter. Top with vanilla bean whipped cream.
Black & Vanilla
Top 1 teaspoon loose black tea in 1 cup near boiling water. Let steep for 4 to 5 minutes. When the tea is ready, strain it into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 1/2 fl oz Kraken Spiced Rum. Shake and then strain into a rocks glass. Gently add 1/4 cup coconut milk. Garnish with mint.
Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee
Rim a special coffee glass with cinnamon sugar. Add 1 1/2 fluid ounces Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon and 5 fluid ounces freshly brewed coffee. Top with 3 tablespoons whipped cream.
Salted Maple Vanilla Cocktail
Rim a cocktail glass with sea salt. Place 1 1/2 fluid ounces Wiser’s Spiced Vanilla Whisky, 1/2 fluid ounce maple syrup and 2 fluid ounces apple juice in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake and then strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an apple slice.
Here’s How: Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
- Split vanilla bean with paring knife and scrape out vanilla bean seeds.
- Place vanilla bean seeds, one cup heavy whipping cream and three tablespoons icing sugar in a chilled mixing bowl.
- Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.