Clocking in at five dollars a pop or more, vanilla beans are undoubtedly expensive. But they add a complexity of flavor, a mix of sweet, floral, earthy, and spicy, that blows vanilla extract away.
So if you are going to drop the cash for the good stuff, how should you use it? Click through the slideshow to see 9 of our favorite ways, all of which highlight the flavor of vanilla.
Another tip: once you've used the seeds, use the pod to make vanilla sugar. Simply place the pod in a jar with 2 cups of sugar and let sit for a week or so to infuse with flavor.
Go Straight to the Recipes
Scotch Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Vanilla Bean Sables
Carrot Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Pie
Millionaire's Cherry Rhubarb Jam
Vanilla Bean Madeleines
Mr. Softee-Style Vanilla Bean Soft Serve
Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Vanilla, Cinnamon, and Lime Panna Cotta