You’re working on a cupcake recipe when it asks you to throw in a vanilla bean. Can’t you use vanilla extract and call it a day? You could but the taste would be vastly different.
The thing is, you’ll be paying for that bolder vanilla flavor. Madagascar vanilla beans can be expensive but they are worth it depending on what food you put them in. They’re a little wasted on simple recipes but ice cream and birthday cakes are a different story.
Check out this guide for a few awesome recipes that are made even better by using vanilla beans.
1. Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze
This cake is one of the simplest (and tastiest) vanilla bean recipes that you can do. It’s great for birthdays and besides, vanilla cake is a classic.
To get started you’ll need a cup of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, a large egg, 1/3 cup of sour cream, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of either canola or vegetable oil, and a pinch of salt for the cake part.
For the glaze that goes on top of the cake, you’ll have to grab 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, a cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup of either cream or milk, and a pinch of salt.
Preparing the Cake and Glaze
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl. After the wet ingredients are good and combined, place the dry ingredients in another bowl and whisk them together. Slowly fold the dry ingredients in with the wet ones and stir until you’ve got cake batter.
Pour the batter into an 8-by-8-inch pan that’s been lined with aluminum foil and sprayed down with cooking spray. Place it in the oven and wait for about 32 minutes.
While the cake bakes, you can prepare the glaze. Put the butter in a pan and cook it until it’s a nice brown color. When the butter is done, pour it into a large mixing bowl.
Add all the other glaze ingredients into the bowl with the butter and beat it with your hand mixer. You might have to add more milk or confectioners’ sugar to get the right consistency.
You can pretty much pour the glaze over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the cake sit and cool uncovered for about 2 hours before you cut into it. This will give the glaze enough time to set.
2. Maple Vanilla Custard
This custard when made with Madagascar vanilla beans is just the thing you need to warm you up on a cold day. It’s one of the best comfort food dessert recipes around and it only uses a small handful of ingredients.
To make this custard you will need to get 1/2 a vanilla bean, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 2 cups of light cream, 2 eggs, and 4 egg yolks. Like we said, only a handful of ingredients.
Making the Custard
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and put the vanilla bean in a saucepan. Add in the cream and heat it up until it starts to bubble a little. Place the saucepan over to the side to let the mixture cool for around half an hour or so.
Mix the eggs together with the maple syrup while gradually pouring some of the vanilla cream mixture in. Strain everything into a container or pitcher and transfer it over to a few small custard cups.
Cover them with foil and allow them to bake in a water bath until they are brown around the edges. This will take about 40 minutes or so.
3. Master Sauce Chicken
Not every recipe on this list consists of dessert. Here is a mouth-watering chicken dish that involves using vanilla pods.
This recipe uses quite a few ingredients but the instructions themselves aren’t too involved so don’t let this scare you off. You’ll need a four-pound whole chicken, a cup of soy sauce, 6 1/3 cups of water, 5.3 oz of yellow rock sugar (you can use brown sugar if you don’t have yellow rock), a cup of Shaoshing wine (you can substitute it for your favorite white or red wine but you’ll have to add an additional cup of water to the broth), 4-star anise, a large knob of ginger, a single vanilla bean that’s been slit down the middle, and four garlic cloves.
Preparing the Chicken
To prepare the chicken you’ll first place it on a paper towel and pat it dry. Remove any access fat and clean the chicken out according to the instructions on the package.
Place all the broth ingredients in a large pot and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the broth simmer for a bit before you place the chicken in the pot. Bring the broth back to a boil and let the chicken cook on one side for around 20 minutes.
When your timer goes off, flip the chicken over and let it cook on the other side for 20 more minutes. Remove the chicken and place the broth in your fridge to be used again later. You can use the chicken as your main meat dish or put it in a salad.
Make Mouth-Watering Foods with Madagascar Vanilla Beans
Madagascar vanilla beans can be expensive but you can use them to make all kinds of delicious treats and meals. You could substitute them for vanilla extract but the taste isn’t the same. There’s just no replacing the bold vanilla flavor that’s so iconic to many ice creams and cakes.
Are you looking for more awesome recipes that you can prepare for your friends and family? Check out the “In the Kitchen” section of our blog daily for all the latest meals and tasty treats everyone will love.