Vanilla Sky!!!

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.

————————————Vanilla Sky

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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…….

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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

 

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Ingredients

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)

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  1. Chop the vanilla beans as fine as you can with a super sharp knife or a pair of scissors work just fine too.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. **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. 
  5. 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.
  6. Store your vanilla paste that in a air tight container in the fridge.

 

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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.

Vanilla Sugar

 

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Ingredients:

2 cups castor sugar/brown sugar(light and packed)

5-6 vanilla beans

Method:

  1. 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….
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

XOXOXO

© kissmybowl All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Liquid Ingredients —— part 1

Hi guys I am back and my friend is back to her busy life fulfilling her duties of a perfect mum….its a tough job and i salute all you mums out there for looking after home,work and your sun shines…lots of hugs to them.Any ways coming to the topic ……….I LOVE RAIN…its final & I wont say it again,saying that i also believe in rainbows and so comes the statement below………

without rain there would never be a rainbow….(I am true believer of unicorns too)

I love rain…& to my delight it was raining in Delhi,but that is not the topic of our post today(I am sure you are thinking how is it relevant then?) It is because without Rain there are no rainbows & just like that without wet ingredients there cannot be a beautifully baked to perfection cake or pie dough or even my morning doughnut.Liquid plays a very important role in the art of baking whether it is as simple as water or as complex as milk(soy,nut,almond,cashew,buttermilk etc.).

we will discuss the liquid ingredients in 2 parts as there is so much to talk about and i do not wish to make it long and boring for you guys…so I have decided that i will be doing this post in 2 parts for easier understanding for all of you….

Every liquid in a recipe is there for a reason and that reason is for your recipe to be a success,so make sure you read the recipe very carefully and see what it asks for.Buttermilk is not as same as normal milk,neither is half and half same as full cream milk,so if your recipe asks for an ingredient it is for a reason…I would not say they are not inter changeable however  following the recipe is always the best and safest bet,unless you are trying to make one of your own.

As you would bake often,you would become a better baker and that my friend will help you create your own recipes,play with quantities of liquid as well as dry ingredients…but most importantly you will learn what and how each ingredient works.

Lets get started………..

WATER

The most basic yet most essential part of our lives water.It is also the most basic ingredient recipes call for assuring you the taste of your baked product wont be altered,& that is exactly what it does,other than providing moisture or help in binding(especially breads).

At the right temperature it can activate and dissolve yeast or piping hot it can accentuate the flavor of cocoa in your chocolate cake(you might want to add 1/2 tsp of coffee to it when you bake next time and see how it does wonders…Believe me..*wink*wink).

MILK

Another basic liquid ingredient that is commonly used instead of water,when you want richer texture and taste to your baked good,however it also provides the same old moisture just like water.Now,the richness of your baked product will depend on how rich your milk is & by richness I mean the fat content in your milk (imagine….the fatter you are the richer you get…I would be a MILLIONAIRE by now..*wink*) anyways so the fat content is basically written on the pack of milk you buy but most common types of milk available through the market are

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whole milk…the milk which has about 3.5% fat content and like the word suggests is whole/full fat milk.

skimmed milk…is the kind of milk that is left when all the cream has been removed from it.Also known as fat free milk.

low fat milk..is the choice when you want your milk creamy but not too rich.

LACTOSE INTOLERANT??????? we have you covered darlings…..

A condition in which people cannot digest “LACTOSE”,which is basically a sugar found in milk or milk products.

well answer to this is…..

Soy milk…as the name suggests is made from soy.It is a plant based milk which is obtained by soaking dry soy beans and grinding them with water and thus has no lactose whatsoever. A lot of flavors are available in the market these days like vanilla,strawberry etc. Sofit and silk are two brands that I have usually seen online and in the general stores near my house.

Almond milk..blanched almonds are ground and squeezed and the milk produced is almond milk,which can easily be replaced for your normal milk in every day routine or in a lactose free recipe.It is available at some of the supermarkets however since made form almonds can be expensive.Silk is the brand i have seen for almond milk and comes in a packaging of 32 oz for about 230 odd INR.

Lactose free milk by Amul..I recently read about this milk and the company states that it has less than 0.01% of lactose however it is still providing the goodness of essential nutrients like calcium,proteins & pre digested lactose that helps in easy digestion of milk for all you out there who are lactose intolerant.One can easily purchase a pack of 4 from here: lactose free milk.

Rice milk is a grain milk made from rice preferably brown rice and is unsweetened.It can be made by boiling rice in large quantity of water,after which it is ground and strained and the liquid product is rice milk.You can DIY making rice milk at home or it can be found online by the brand DREAM.

Coconut Milk…is the liquid that comes out when a mature fully ripped coconut is grated squeezed and strained.The rich taste of coconut milk comes from high oil content,most of which is saturated fats.(just in case you are thinking …too much of saturated fats are not good for our health).

Saying that I remembered I completely forgot about one important milk which is not milk but made from it or lets say its a byproduct. “Buttermilk”,a very important substitute as well as an ingredient in many recipes.

Buttermilk can be referred to as many dairy drinks,but originally it is the liquid that is left behind when butter is churned or cottage cheese is made(aka whey). This can be easily be made at home if you do not have buttermilk in hand or have run out of it.

take 3/4 cup milk and add enough vinegar/lemon juice to complete one cup.Leave for 5-10 minutes and buttermilk at your service.There are a lot of brands selling buttermilk plain and flavored like Mother Dairy,Amul & Danone etc. but i prefer making my own when i am short on some however if i do buy then it is plain rather than flavored.

CREAM

An ingredient which can easily replace water/milk,either by fully using it or using it as half milk and half cream.Milk and cream both not only give richness to the bake but moisture and texture as well.They also help the bake to brown on the surface.Image result for yogurt and cream

Cream is a dairy product which is skimmed off the top of the milk before homogenization.Cream can be sold in several grades and is high on saturated fats.there are various types of cream that one might find in the market today under various brands,some of them are….

Full Cream/Dairy Cream/Heavy Cream…this is the type of cream that I usually find at my local dairy in small packets of 250 gms. This cream can be tricky when whipped if too warm,it wont whip and might split.If over whipped might churn and make butter leaving behind whey(watery substance also called buttermilk).

The easiest method to whip this cream is to refrigerate everything that the cream touches.Put the bowl of cream on another bowl of ice and whip (beaters are refrigerated too) until it starts to reach soft peaks.Now you can add sugar and beat slowly and steadily until it reaches stiff peaks or the consistency you are looking for.

Whipping Cream….This is by far the easiest procedure/product to whip up a batch of whipped cream for your fresh fruit cake.There are a lot of brands in the market that are selling this in 1 ltr tetra packs.All you need to do is take out the quantity you need and whip up a batch in a few minutes without bothering to over whip your cream or to cool the accessories.The most common brands available are Rich’s,Tropolite etc.I prefer storing mine in a freezer than in a refrigerator that way it whips better and fluffier.

Dairy Free Whipping Cream….As the name mentions this cream is also a whipping cream however is for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan.It is whipped exactly the same way your normal whipped cream is whipped and one of the brands offering this is Tropolite.

Instant Powder Whipped Cream…this cream is more expensive than your other whipping creams.It comes in a sealed bag further packed in a box to avoid humidity and maintain freshness of the product. This cream is made by adding some water,little at a time(as mentioned on the box..however i add milk) and whipped until it reaches desired consistency.It is always better to add little water/milk at a time as excessive liquid can result in a soupy cream rather than a whipped one.Blue Bird is one of the most common names that I have seen through the market for powder whipped cream in 50 gram packs.

YOGURT & SOUR CREAM

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yogurt and sour cream again from the milk family…but what do they do other than adding moisture??? They make your dough/batter/cakes or pies sharper,well what we mean here is that it will give your baked goods a sharp taste,something like an edge to your baked goods when you taste them. I usually can pin point that the recipe has curd,yogurt or sour cream in it because of the distinct flavor and taste it leaves in my mouth.I also believe that that they help me cut off some off my sweetness in my muffins and breads by giving that acidic hint.

So what is yougurt?  Is it the same as curd?

the answer to your questions is yes and no…..how is that we’l discuss that in  a minute…

yogurt is a dairy product and is made by taking the milk,warming it up and then adding some already made yogurt to it and then I leave it in a warm place overnight or a few hours so that the good bacteria can do its job and give me a perfectly set yogurt the next day.So basically what I am doing is……

bacterial fermentation of milk using ‘yogurt cultures’. The bacteria causes fermentation of lactose and produce lactic acid. bacterial fermentation of milk using ‘yogurt cultures’. The bacteria causes fermentation of lactose and produce lactic acid.

CURD

in may countries such as India curd is also known as dahi…and is confused with yogurt. So people basically think curd and yogurt are the same thing,however in my knowledge they are two different things and curd comes from curdling the milk.

The process is simple you add acidic substance such as vinegar,lemon juice etc. to your warm,boiled milk and what it will do is curdle your milk and the substance that is formed is called curd and the left over liquid can be drained or kept (we will just talk about it) and is called whey.

SOUR CREAM

what is sour cream? how is it different from yogurt or cream?

well sour cream is a mix of both and is also a dairy product obtained by fermentation of cream using some lactic acid  bacteria as base such yogurt itself.

when cream is mixed with yogurt it is set aside to set and ferment and form something that is thick such a scream itself with a sour or tangy taste so this the name …sour cream.

one would see a lot of recipes that use sour cream instead of cream,milk or even water.

Oil

OH MY GOD…I had no clue the number of oils available in the market but do they all do the same job….i hope so,because i haven’t tried using so many different oils and like to stick to the one I have used always…that is sunflower oil(its tasteless and gives a beautiful texture to my cakes or other baked goods)

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Oil is usually used to replace butter or can be used with it as well in certain recipes,its job is simple to keep your baked goods nice and moist.However we need to realize that oil wont give you the richness that a butter based cake would. We need to be very careful how and which recipes to use oil/butter and the quantities that i would like to put them in in the recipe(if i am making/experimenting with my own recipe).There are a lot of oils available in the market some with flavor and some flavorless. I personally prefer the flavorless ones as they do not alter the taste of my baked product yet help retain the moisture that i am looking for in my product.I personally prefer oil based cakes(please don’t judge me) but at the same time i am huge fan of butter based cakes for thee texture,flavor and richness.

So now i use a recipe that uses both and believe me the cake that comes out is so moist,yet full of flavor (problem solved yay!!!)

some of the oils mainly used in baking are sunflower oil, soya oil,canola oil(expensive here in India) and last but not the least olive oil for a orange and olive oil cake which is to die for.

So here i end the 1st part of my liquid ingredient post. you guys are more than welcome to ask me any doubts that you might have or tell me a post or topic you would want me to write about…i am always around to help in any way i can when it comes to your baking needs….

lots of hugs and kisses to all of you and I will see you real soon with the 2nd part.

 

© kissmybowl All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

AIDEZ-MOI

“The only mistake you can make is not asking for help”—– sandeep jauhar

Well as the title and the quote suggests,this post is all gonna be about the “HELP”…….everyone thinks they are superman….well i happen to be one of those people just that I am not only superwoman but the all the other avengers that you can think of…but sometimes superheroes do need HELP and it was one of those days.

I had so much on my mind(blah,blah,blah) that when i hardly got time to write about what i loved the most …I started to feel disappointed and miserable,for i wasn’t doing justice to what i loved the most(btw i mean baking and cooking).So sitting with my lovely cup of tea(trying to relieve my stress)and talking to my best friend i suggested jokingly that how about she could help me do the writing(she is a new mom and basically has no time on her hands,yet you can’t blame the girl for trying) while I could hop on and off,write while attending to my workshops and other things,we giggled about it…spoke about a million other things and went back to our routines.

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i hope we stay friends until we die……and scare the shit out of people walking out of walls……

Midnight i get a message saying she would love to be on board but has a 5 month old and will try the best she can and i should be patient with her try and see if she was helpful…helpful? the woman had no clue what she had done or was being modest either way i was glad she hopped on board.Basically we were helping each other and after being friends for good/bad/ugly 27 years,we were trying to show off our modesties(is that even i word??) to each other isn’t that funny (for us it was…believe me).

The very next day we sat and discussed how to go about things,what posts we can start with how comfortable she was,the time she needed etc.etc….and rest is history…you will soon see her talking about all the stuff that we discussed in our next post and really hope it helps you guys overcome & trouble shoot some of your baking problems.

So

Bye Bye from me to you with lots of love,hugs and kisses until we meet next time with at last my first official post on baking.

xoxox