My best friend and I, we take our time. We walk slowly to our destinations, sip our tea, and exchange Christmas gifts weeks after the holiday has passed. We've done this every year since we've gotten close back in high school, and it suits us. A few days ago we followed through on this habit as usual and she gave me the best gift imaginable for a down and out foodie....whole Madagascar vanilla beans! Ever since, I've been fantasizing about what to do with them....so many possibilities! Vanilla beans are pricey, so I've long wanted to bake with them and never have. In fact, the only spice in the world more expensive is Saffron. As you can imagine, the options for use of this culinary gold are quite overwhelming. So I sifted through my favorite food blogs and came up with a list of finalists, so to speak. My only requirement was that the vanilla bean flavor be absolutely showcased. Here's the best of them (all credit given to the respective bloggers in links below the photos):
|Recipe and photo from Barefeet In The Kitchen|
|Photo and recipe from 80 Breakfasts|
|Photo and recipe from Bourbonnatrix Bakes|
|Photo and recipe from Mississippi Kitchen|
"Four Cheese" is what honestly got my attention on this one. I have an addiction, but I am not ashamed. However, it still showcases vanilla beans as its primary flavor, which is all I am after here. Plus, what a gorgeous photo!
|Photo and recipe from The Pioneer Woman|
How can I decide?? Any other vanilla-centered recipe suggestions are greatly welcomed!
Last Minute Thought!Beans are pricey, so use every last part! Chope your bean in four pieces after using the inside pulp and seeds, then throw it in a cute jar with about a cup of sugar. Let it sit for a week or so, then enjoy the major flavor it adds to coffee, tea, or just about anything that requires sugar. For extra punch, grind up the dried bean pods with the sugar after letting it sit and then sift it to remove the chunks. In a cute jar with some ribbon it also makes a good hostess gift or just-because neighborly present.
|My jar obsession is actually useful sometimes.|