Vanilla is expensive, but you can make it more cost effective if you use every last bit of the bean. Once you have scraped the seeds out of the pods and have used those for another delicious purpose, you can still get flavor from the outer bean. Put that piece down into a small container of sugar, make sure it is covered completely with sugar, close the lid, and use the sugar later. You will have your own subtly flavored vanilla sugar.
If you prefer, you can do something very arty with the outer bean. Recently, I saw a vanilla bean outer skin made into very slim, long slivers and placed upright, crisscrossed into whipped cream topping. So pretty. So elegant.
Sometimes you just need a great cup of coffee to go with that New York Crumb Cake.
I am letting you in on a secret. If you are a lover of foam-topped cups of coffee, then this secret may just keep you out of, well, that famous coffee shop on most days. Then you will have more money leftover to spend at the market for crumb cake or muffins to accompany your brew. My daughter and I were taught this tip by the owner of a coffee plantation in Boquete, Panama. After our very interesting coffee tour, we were in the tasting house sampling all types of beans and roasts, then Lars (I know doesn’t sound Panamanian……other story), said do this:
heat your milk….pour the milk in a tallish, straight-sided cup, lower your wire whisk into the cup vertically, place the whisk handle between your palms (hands flat, palms facing together with whisk handle standing up in between), then rub your palms together vigorously, as if you were warming them on the coldest day, remove whisk and gently pour your hot brewed coffee down the inside of the mug alongside all that froth. Voila! (Spanish speakers, what’s the equivalent?)
Perfect, Fun, and Delicious foamy coffee.
YOU ARE SO SUPER FINE ! ! !
Have you ever seen a recipe which calls for superfine sugar?
It is sugar that dissolves very quickly, and it helps to keep things like cakes, delicate. If you have seen the boxes of superfine sugar in the baking aisle, you know that is it rather expensive.
You can make your own! Put some regular granulated sugar into the food processor and whirl away for about half a minute. Wait a second before you open the processor, as a puff of sugar dust will be rising. There you go. That’s all there is to it.
I thought to include this as my daughter, right this minute is baking a cake for me 🙂 An angel food cake. I love those. She is so superfine.