Such is the versatility of the vanilla bean, people are finding new ways of using the spice to add flavor and taste to food dishes and beverages alike. Hereís the thing though; you donít need to be all that inventive when it comes to enjoying a vanilla-splashed drink.
With the simple addition of vanilla extract or vanilla powder, or even by using the bean itself, you can add a whole new life to your drink. Here are some simple ideas of ways to boost your beverage.
Perhaps the most obvious use of the vanilla bean is the good old fashioned thick shake. There are two options you can use here. Firstly, you can add vanilla ice cream to milk and whip-up a tasty vanilla shake. If you want to add a little more taste to the drink, add a few drops of extract to the mixture and youíll have one tasty shake.
Alternatively, you can prepare a flavored thick shake, using chocolate, strawberry or banana ice cream and add a hint of vanilla to it. This allows for a subtle additional flavor. Those preferring to throw subtlety out of the window could add the seeds of a bean directly to the shake for a more potent flavor. A sprinkling of vanilla powder on top makes for a pleasant treat also.
Perhaps a little less obvious, you can simply add a few drops of vanilla extract to a glass of milk, or use a sprinkling of powder atop it for a bedtime beverage with a bit of vanilla kick to it
Whether youíre the type of person that needs coffee to wake up in the morning or to get through that tedious team meeting, or someone that likes to enjoy a cup of Joe along with a good book, adding a few drops of the extract of a vanilla bean can create a fine tasting coffee.
Be it latte, espresso, cappuccino, or a cafť mocha lite with cinnamon sprinklings, vanilla enhances the flavor of any type of coffee. A dusting of vanilla powder is worth a shot as well.
Similarly, tea (including jasmine and nettle style teas) can be greatly enhanced by adding vanilla extract. Alternatively, add some vanilla powder to your standard sugar (leave it for a fortnight) and youíll have yourself a delicious vanilla sugar that can be added to any beverage, and many dishes.
5. Hot Chocolate
It is said that when Cortes arrived in South America the ruler of the Aztecs, Moctezuma, presented him with a rich chocolate drink flavored with honey and the vanilla. If itís good enough for ancient rulers and European explorers itís good enough for us.
You can add any derivative of the vanilla bean to your hot chocolate, including vanilla extract, while vanilla powder can make for an excellent top dusting.
The nutritional value of smoothies has been widely reported. The vanilla bean itself is considered a healthy foodstuff. Put the two together then and you have yourself one feel-good drink that just so happens to be delicious.
7. Carbonated soft drinks
Cream Soda was a childrenís favorite for years. This vanilla flavored fizzy drink may have fallen by the wayside lately but adding vanilla extract to almost any carbonated drink, including cola, offers children and adults alike a new taste.
For the adults, how about trying a vanilla flavored vodka or rum? Simply take a vanilla bean or two and place it in a new bottle of liqueur (use more beans for larger bottles) and leave it for a few months. The result is a rich vanilla flavor alongside your favorite tipple.
Similarly, take your favorite cocktail and add a few drops of vanilla extract. Whether itís a Long Island Iced Tea or a Screwdriver, the taste will impress. Alternatively, use that vanilla infused liqueur youíve created (see above) to make your own.
Finally, pick up a recipe for vanilla cider and try something completely different. The taste will surprise you to say the least, as well as demonstrating how versatile the vanilla bean is.