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Great recipes using vanilla beans?

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Just got some and this is my first time using real beans. Not such a baker, so I'd appreciate both baking and cooking recipes, if possible! Thanks

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  1. Try bougatsa. Its a terrific greek dessert that combines philo dough and a sweet, vanilla custard. My favorite recipe is from the cookbook, "The Real Greek at Home." You'll love it.

    1. Boy I like to take a bean and stick it in some Balsamic vinegar and let is flavor the vinegar. I just keep it in the bottle until it's gone and then I start over with a new bean and bottle. It has a wonderful fragrance and rounds out the vinegar. I always think of doing this for Christmas presents but never get around to it. I got the idea from David Paul's in Maui.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cheesy Oysters

        That sounds really interesting. I'll have to try it. What type of balsamic vinegar do you use? (what is the acidity?)

        1. re: Cheesy Oysters

          We like to make a dessert with these flavors too. I think the recipe came from Sunset magazine, but we changed it a little. We sautee pear slices in unslated butter and then scrape in some vanilla bean, balsamic vinegar, and fresh rosemary. You have to vary the cooking time and proportions based on the flavor of the pear, but as a general rule you should go light on the ingredients, they're pretty bold flavors. Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or creme fraiche.

        2. I've done it with a few types--nothing too expensive. When I used to go to Costco, it would be the one that they sold. I just loved the vanilla flavored vinegar--love that sweet and savory combination.

          1. Creme brulee or creme caramel.

            1. Slice a bean in half & put it in an airtight container of sugar. The flavor will permeate the sugar in a matter of days, and you can keep the bean in the container for months. Use the sugar for baking, cookie sprinkles or in your coffee. It's great sprinkled on french toast, and makes your classic cinnamon-sugar condiment even tastier.

              Not sure if you're a lobster fan, but vanilla is also wonderful with lobster. You can find all sorts of recipes online. Here's a good start:
              http://www.vanilla.com/html/recipeint...

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodiegrl

                Another idea for vanilla sugar is to dry out a used bean after you have scraped the insides for a another recipe. You then process the dry pod and mix it in a container of sugar. It's an economical way to get the most out of the bean.

              2. use it to flavor a panna cotta instead of using vanilla in liquid form. i use two beans per quart.

                1. You can drop 2-3 pods in a bottle of rum..let sit for a week to 10 days & use that instead of vanilla extract.

                  Make some vanilla syrup for your pancakes..make some simple syrup(equal amounts of sugar & water). Use 1 vanilla bean for every 2 cups of simple syrup. Take the simple syrup, vanilla bean & some whole star anise & bring to a boil. Let simmer & reduce to half the original amount..until thick & syrupy.

                  1. Ice cream made with real vanilla beans has no comparison. Also look for Amanda Hesser's vanilla loaf recipe.

                    1. What is the best alcohol to use for making Vanilla extract? I saw that someone on a much earlier post used Frangelico and really liked it. Does anyone else have any suggestions?