Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More goodies in the mail - Vanilla Beans!

I love vanilla. It's heady, aromatic, flowery flavour is one of the best. Unfortunately, good vanilla is not so easy to come buy. Here, you can buy three things.

-Vanillin sugar - fake vanilla in powdered sugar
-Vanilla sugar - real vanilla in powdered sugar, but not much
-Vanilla beans - expensive and usually dried out and boring

No vanilla extract - I stock up while I'm in the US, and I sometimes have friends send me more to replenish my supply. So, I was very excited when I read on Brownie Points about her successful Ebay order. I immediately placed one myself, and a few days ago, the most wonderful package arrived. A whole pound of vanilla! All MINE! I'm so excited. Now I have to think of a million things to do with it. Any favorite ideas out there?


Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,

I love vanilla too, and am always on the lookout for new uses. I don't have recipes for either of these, but I had the most sublime jam in the world, bought from Borough Market, made of rhubarb, red currant and vanilla. It was quite sweet, so you got the lovely flavour of the fruit rounded out by (lots of!) vanilla, and without the punch of under-sweetened rhubarb. Adult baby food! And easy to devise your own recipe.
I'm also in passing love with the vanilla-flavoured Absolut when used to make a classic Screwdriver--just the vodka and fresh-squeezed OJ, and it somehow magically becomes more of its parts. Sort of like a Creamsicle, for the Americans out there (frozen pop with vanilla ice cream inside, coated by orange sherbet). I imagine you could set some vodka steeping with some of the beans, split, and a bit of sugar syrup, and it would be ready in time for Christmas? Lucky you!

Elin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elin said...

Fruktsallad med vanilj och habanero är jättegott:

Cerebrum said...

Oh. My. God. That's a lot! I want some too!! You lucky girl!

Anonymous said...

You could make your own vanilla sugar - it's really good in tea or coffee. Just split a bean lengthwise with a knife and put in in a jar with 500 gm of sugar. Close tightly and let sit for a week or so. Don't forget to shake the jar occasionally.

Anonymous said...

mmm, I love vanilla. I think that I will have to order some aswell :-)

yEşiL said...

Hi Anne! That'ss treasure (wealth?!). I saw your photo with big eyes. A whole pound of vanilla.. I'm very envious of you ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree, vanilla is great
You can find vanilla extract at the English Shop (Söderhallarna)

Anne said...

Phillyukgirl - what an excellent suggestion! I just happen to have rhubarb AND red currants sitting in my freezer right now. Not for long!

Fruitbat - sadly, they mostly sell fake vanilla extract. And that's no fun. But I'm sure it's easy to make your own, so I'll give that a try, too!

Thanks everyone! And Dagmar and Zarah Maria - do order, I couldn't be happier with the seller. :)

Anonymous said...

Just found this blog - its GREAT! I AM SO HAPPY ANNE!!:) It is VERY helpful for people like me living/studying in Sweden with limited knowledge of Swedish - especially in terms related to cooking! I was just looking for vanilla extract today at the store with no success and now I know why!

Does you/anyone have information on the Swedish names or if these items are available in Sweden?:
-Vegetable shortening (aka Crisco in US)
-Baking soda/Powder (what is the name is Swedish?)
-Canned Chicken Broth
-Canned Cream of Chicken soup
THANKS!!! I'll be back to this site, for sure!

Anne said...

Oh dear anonymous, I'll try to help! Also, feel free to e-mail if you need more specific help!

-Vegetable shortening (aka Crisco in US)

Um, nothing just like Crisco, I don't think - but regular margarine should work for most recipes. And you can find that in any store. Milda is a good brand.

-Baking soda/Powder (what is the name is Swedish?)

Bakpulver is baking powder, bikarbonat is baking soda. Bakpulver will be near the flour, bikarbonat confusingly enough with the spices.

-Canned Chicken Broth

Nope. No. Forget it. Can't find it.

-Canned Cream of Chicken soup

Oh yeah. Campbell's. Will be in any store, in the soup aisle. :)

If you're in Stockholm and get a real hankering for American food - don't miss Gray's American Food Store on Odengatan! :)

aimee said...

(previously anonymous - just signed up as a user)

Jocelyn:McAuliflower said...

Thanks for the mental jog Anne! I totally need to post about what I've been doing with these beauties.

Off the top of my head: when making baked goods, put a bean or two (ahhh what luxury!) in a coffee grinder with some of your flour and whirl it all up. That way you get the yummy seeds and the fiber of the whole bean too. I've done this with chocolate chip cookies and pancakes (must blog must blog! I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland!).

I'm also working on making vanilla vodka and bourbon. :)

Anne said...

McAuliflower, you just sent me into Homer-drool-mode.. Ahh.. vanilla.. and it's just past 6 am here. :) Vanilla bourbon sounds amazing, and what a great idea to just incorporate with flour! I bet brownies would benefit from this! Yuuum!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

I've just come across an idea that is very alluring to make vanilla extract at home. The idea is by the way from a Hungarian blog which I'm unable to link in here, the address anyway is You are tagged there as a favourite blog! So since this thing there is in Hungarian, I take the liberty to translate the instructions: you take a 7,5 dl bottle of good vodka (the picture features Absolute:), and put ten, yes ten vanilla pods in it. First you slash the pods to help release more flavour. Then you keep it in a dark place for a month, shake the bottle up weekly and there you have your very own vanilla extract. I haven't yet prepared it but definitely will. Very curious how it works. Here in Hungary we also have vanilin sugar, vanilla pods, recently also Bourbon vanilia sugar, meaning they flavour sugar with real vanilla and even more recently we also have vanilla extract for a fortune. When I first bought it I was disappointed by its nondescript flavour but it turns out it tastes vanilla when used. Eszter

Anonymous said...

"Um, nothing just like Crisco, I don't think [...]"

-Crisco IS sold in Sweden, just not as a food product..! ;)
In Stockholm you can get it at Läderverkstan, Rosenlundgatan 30A.