Vanilla powder (also known as ground vanilla), a very recent arrival in my pantry courtesy of Cousin Martin's eclipse-watching trip to Tahiti, takes the bean out of vanilla beans. It's made by grinding whole dried vanilla beans into a powder. No fuss, no muss, no leftover slit vanilla pods (after all, how many of those can you stick in the sugar jar?). You get pure vanilla flavor without the additional alcohol in extracts, and, unlike extracts, the powder can be added directly to warm liquids and the flavor will not dilute. Best of all, you still can see the little flecks of vanilla in your dish. Be careful when purchasing, as some vanilla powders (including some popular brands) also contain sugar; read the label to be sure you are getting 100% pure vanilla powder. When baking, add vanilla powder with the dry ingredients. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of vanilla extract, substitute one-half teaspoon of vanilla powder and add one more teaspoon of liquid (milk, buttermilk, etc.) to the wet ingredients.
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Make your own:
How to make vanilla powder
Where to buy:
My Spice Sage ($9.50/1 oz)
Cinnamon and vanilla challah French toast
When I was growing up, every Saturday morning my dad would make French toast from the egg-rich challah left from Friday night dinner. It's still a treat, but if you don't have challah, try this recipe with brioche, pannetone, or other egg bread, or with any thick-sliced country white bread. Serves 2-3; can be doubled.
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk, any type
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
6 slices challah, brioche, or other egg bread
Preheat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan to medium-low heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla powder, cinnamon and milk, until smooth and slightly frothy.
Melt the butter on the griddle or in the frying pan.
Dunk each slice of bread into the egg mixture, making sure both sides are coated. Don't let the bread sit so long in the egg that it begins to fall apart, but do allow some of the egg mixture to soak into the bread. Place the bread slices on the griddle. Let cook 2-3 minutes on one side. When nicely browned, flip the slices and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until browned.
Serve hot, with additional butter and maple syrup.
Other recipes that use vanilla powder:
Crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies, from Zaiqa
Macarons with vanilla-honey buttercream, from Hey,That Tastes Good!
Cinnamon vanilla baked plantains, from Karma-Free Cooking
Vegan cappuccino brownies, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Vanilla-vanilla bean roasted apple pie, from Wicked Good Dinner
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