Brian:You can do whatever you want with your life, but one day you’ll know what love truly is. It’s the sour and the sweet. And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate the sweet.
I just love the movie and that is why the name…..however it is not the movie that we would be discussing here but part of its name “Vanilla” i am sure most of you know that by now…but yes I would like to tell you that most pictures have been clicked by hubby dearest and I love them,hope you guys like them as much……..
Now coming to the topic of our new discussion”VANILLA”.There is so much this one plant can offer when it comes to baking or otherwise.I love vanilla, don’t we all…its sweet fragrance that it leaves behind as the cake rises with a beautiful golden top or its soft taste in the sugar that had been deep buried and left over to soak up…or my favorite white pillar candle which is also Vanilla flavored,I am sure you all can guess by now how much i love Vanilla.
I know vanilla is my favorite flavor out of all the flavors that I have tried making (coffee,mint,lemon,orange,spearmint,lavender,vanilla and many more to begin with)and today I am here to talk about how to make your own vanilla paste,extract or flavored sugar.
To begin with i would want you guys to know how to make the extract and once that happens I will tell you how to make the paste or the flavored sugar which is easy peasy I assure you. So what are we waiting for let us get started…….
what is Vanilla ??
Vanilla is the flavoring that is derived from the orchids of genus vanilla,primarily from the Mexican species. Now my personal favorite is the Madagascar vanilla….love love love the fragrance & the flavor.There are a lot of other vanilla types,brands & varieties which might be cheaper that are also available in the market but let me assure you once you use the good stuff you shall never go back to any of those.
Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor.As a result, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture, and aromatherapy.
Madagascar vanilla is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia from where I usually prefer getting mine from.
vanilla in a bottle
time: 15 minutes
5-10 vanilla pod good quality (I got mine from Bali when I traveled last year)
1 quarter bottle of vodka( Smirnoff is my preferred choice however you can or may choose a cheaper one as well and it does not affect the quality of the extract your vanilla does)
- Slice you vanilla pod from the middle however do not scrape the vanilla beans out. This is just to activate the vanilla when it is submerged in the vodka.Now,you can always use lesser vanilla beans which will lead to a lighter colored extract and will have a less strong flavor,at least that is what I have experienced so all in all 10 work for me for a fragrant and strong vanilla extract.
- Once you have sliced all your vanilla beans from the middle,add them to your vodka bottle and seal and set aside.
Now I am sure that most of you would be tempted to open that bottle every now and then & check how is the vodka and vanilla doing but please don’t do that.Let it sit for at least 8 week not any lesser,in my case i leave it for 4 months but make about 3 bottles which last me a year as the flavor matures with time.
So after about 8+ weeks of patient waiting you will have something like this(picture attached for reference) a beautiful bottle of vanilla extract which can be an amazing gift during Christmas,Diwali or as a matter of fact even Mother’s day in case your mum is a hobby baker just like mine.I usually store my vanilla in pop bottles and let them mature in that in case i plan to gift them to people,if not my savior is usually the store bought vodka bottle which works perfectly fine for my personal use.
vanilla bean paste(homemade)
Now vanilla paste is different yet similar to vanilla extract. The similarity is basically the vanilla in both of the them so comes the flavor along however texture wise they are quite different.I would always find vanilla bean paste stronger than vanilla extract hence i would always use it much lesser than the extract.
I grind the vanilla bean pods with some added sugar to give it that hint of sweetness to compliment the beautiful flavor of vanilla.`vanilla paste is thicker than the extract and has a more intense flavor like I have said before and is full of those small black specs of the beans that you can see in vanilla bean ice cream,vanilla custard (both of which we will talk about in our next post) or any other fancy expensive desserts.
My vanilla bean paste will take some time to prepare but let me assure you, you wont be disappointed and every minute is worth the wait i solemnly promise.
Vanilla Bean Paste
25-30 good quality vanilla pods/beans
6 tbsp vanilla extract (i use homemade)
11/4 cup castor sugar**,now you may use agave nectar for a healthier & less sugar version.
(you can buy agave nectar from here: )
for a no sugar or sugar free version you may use vegetable glycerin instead of sugar or agave nectar
- Chop the vanilla beans as fine as you can with a super sharp knife or a pair of scissors work just fine too.
- Now you can skip this step and go straight to the next step,but for me this step helps me a lot in making a smoother and finer paste.
- After chopping,in a food processor/spice blender jar put all the ingredients and pulse/blend,until the whole mix looks smooth and a fine paste.(as much as you can get it to that stage).
- **If you are using sugar do not use icing sugar use castor sugar. Also cook the mix for 3-4 minutes on medium flame or until the sugar dissolves and then follow the steps.
- Now,take a fine mesh/sieve and put this vanilla “pulp” in it and squish and smash the vanilla with a spatula or spoon so that the finer paste comes out .Now i usually do this step twice but you can even do this once and it work just fine.
- Store your vanilla paste that in a air tight container in the fridge.
If you have done everything right ……you will have yourself a wonderful jar of vanilla bean paste that can be used in a variety of things but there is one thing in particular that i enjoy most in this Delhi summer is a “No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice cream”,it is quick,it is easy peasy & guess what it tastes far better than those store bought ones…so wait for me to talk about one of those in my next post.
2 cups castor sugar/brown sugar(light and packed)
5-6 vanilla beans
- Take the vanilla pods and slit them from the middle to expose the beans so that when they come in contact with the sugar those tiny specs spread and mix well with the sugar spreading more love….
- Now,take you choice of sugar and stuff these pods in the sugar and store in an air tight container and let it sit for at least 3 weeks. Anything plus is better flavor and more fragrant sugar.
- I use this sugar in my coffee,in baking,to sprinkle my cakes and the list is endless what you want to do with it.I am sure you guys are going to have super fun with it.
I just love the way this post has come out…it was so much fun for me & I really hope it was the same for you or it is when you guys go ahead and try this at home. Remember to share this with your friends and family & spread the love it will always make your bakes taste better I promise.
This is me signing off now to go and prepare the post for that lovely “No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream” we spoke about for this summer heat.