Believe it or not, switching to Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans can make a world of difference when it comes to baking the perfect dessert. Whilst Madagascar may be halfway around the world, going the extra distance to pick-up these vanilla beans is more than worthwhile. Thanks to the internet, you don't even need to trek around the world, merely click a few buttons and hey presto. Here are a few quick ideas from one of my recent baking frenzies.
Adding the extract of vanilla beans to cakes and cookies
With our young daughter campaigning for a birthday party I decided to take the opportunity to mix things up a little. Her friends and their parents descended upon us one Saturday afternoon and I promptly offered some unassuming cupcakes and cookies. I'd secretly added some extract of Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans to both mixtures whilst baking and was more than a little pleased with the response.
One little boy told me "they were the best cookies he'd ever tasted." Whilst he might not have a wealth or world experience, I like to think this particular six-year-old has good taste. I added a touch of extract of vanilla beans to chocolate chip and double chocolate chip. The vanilla maintained a secret existence, not overcrowding the chocolate flavor but certainly making its presence known. The two-pronged flavoring worked as well as I'd hoped.
When it came to the cupcakes, I offered some variety to our guests. I had a simple batch of cupcakes which I'd baked with a few seeds from the vanilla beans in the mixture. Others I'd added authentic vanilla extract to basic buttercream and finished them off butterfly cake style. Needless to say the young children lapped these latter cakes up.
Enhancing fruit-based desserts using vanilla beans
Like many families, my brood has always been more than a little fond of pie. It doesn't matter what's in it: apple; blueberry; raspberry; apricot. They'll eat anything so long as it's encased in warm, golden pastry. Sometimes though, pie can be a little mundane and a little repetitive. Not one for adding cloves, I threw caution to the wind and added some pure vanilla extract, derived from vanilla beans, to an apple pie.
The result was sensational. It was like serving up a new twist on an age-old classic. The extract of Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans not only enhanced the taste of the apple pie but it added a rich, unmistakable aroma to the baking process. If the proof is in the pudding, well the pudding was all gone after everybody came back for second helpings.
As well as adding that extra dimension to your fruit pie, extract from Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans as well as vanilla sugar can be sprinkled directly onto fresh fruit. That's a neat little trick to remember if you have kids (or kids-at-heart) that don't like to eat their five-a-day.
Vanilla beans are diverse: you can use them for practically anything
I haven't tried it yet but I'm quietly comfortable that adding Madagascan vanilla to the likes of pancakes, donuts and waffles will garner a positive response similar to that of the cake, cookies and pie. One thing worth remembering though is that it is always best to use authentic Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans rather than vanilla essence, or some other unnatural concoction designed to be sold cheaper.
It's also worth noting that desserts need not just be family-friendly. If you're hosting a dinner party keep in mind that using the extract of vanilla beans will enhance the flavor and impact of a range of adult-inspired desserts. These include the likes of tiramisu, crθme caramel, trifle and homemade ice cream made with a dash or two of alcohol.
Your creativity need not end once your dessert is baking in the oven either. For a special adult treat why not indulge in a nip of vanilla flavored brandy or vodka. Both can be produced in the same way. Simply take a vanilla bean or two and insert it into a new bottle (preferably one liter or more), leaving it for up to three weeks. Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans infuse with the contents to produce an exotic evening treat that's perfect for closing out a dinner party.