Tag Archives: vanilla bean

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones, up close

These mini scones were inspired by the pastry case at Starbucks, where they always have a tray of Petite Vanilla Bean Scones set out. These scones are very small, each less than 1/4 the size of their full sized counterparts, so they appeal to coffee lovers looking for a small (and inexpensive) sweet treat. I make scones at home on a regular basis, so I ... Read More »

Vanilla Bean Pudding

Vanilla Bean Pudding

There is something very comforting about about a bowl of homemade vanilla pudding. I ate it all the time as a kid – usually made from a handy box of pudding mix, which I could easily make myself – and still enjoy the way a bowl of pudding will bring a little happiness into my day now. These days, of course, I make my vanilla ... Read More »

What is vanilla extract?

Vanilla is one of the most ubiquitous flavors in baking. Not only are there a wide variety of vanilla baked goods, but vanilla is in the vast majority of baking recipes regardless of the primary flavor in the cake/cookie/pastry in question. Vanilla beans are always an option when baking and cooking, but the beans can be quite expensive. Vanilla extract is the most common and ... Read More »

Cook’s Illustrated rates Vanilla Beans

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans can impart a much deeper and more complex vanilla flavor to a custard or other dessert than vanilla extract, but while any vanilla bean is better than none, not all vanilla beans offer the same flavors. They range in quality and price, and in a recent issue (July/Aug 2011) the test kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated set out to test five different brands of ... Read More »

How long do vanilla beans last?

Vanilla Beans in Sugar

Vanilla beans are a pricey ingredient prized by bakers and cooks because nothing imparts vanilla flavor like seeds scraped straight from a fresh vanilla pod. I usually have a few vanilla beans on hand and, like so many other deal-hunting bakers, I try to replenish my supply when I find a good deal on bulk vanilla beans (the holidays are a great time to stock ... Read More »

Vanilla Bean Banana Bread

Vanilla Bean Banana Bread

You’re probably used to seeing banana bread that is dark and dense looking, and often full of brown sugar and spices. Banana bread made like this is delicious, but as with all things, it never hurts to have a little variety in your recipe book. The last time I had a bunch of ripe bananas in the kitchen, I decided to give banana bread a ... Read More »

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee Setup

Creme brulee is a classic and elegant way to end a meal. The best thing about it – besides cracking that crisp caramel crust to get to the delicate custard within – is the fact that it is actually easy to make at home! Creme brulee starts off with a mixture of cream, milk, sugar and egg yolks. The cream gives the custard a lot ... Read More »

Real Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Real Vanilla Bean Buttercream

When it comes to topping off a cake or some cupcakes, there is frosting and then there is frosting. Buttercream is the classic cake topper. There are two ways to make it: a shortcut uncooked way and a slower cooked way. I usually opt for the quick-fix way to make it, creaming together butter and confectioners sugar with a bit of flavoring. That method is ... Read More »

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