'vanilla' on Serious Eats

Taste Test: Is Better Vanilla Extract Worth the Price?

Real vanilla extract doesn't come cheap. Depending on where you buy it, it can range from a little under a buck an ounce all the way up to several dollars. Add real vanilla beans into the mix and prices can climb even higher. But does more expensive vanilla make for better flavor? Tastier cookies and better vanilla ice cream? Where does artificial vanilla extract figure into it? We decided to find out. More

9 Ways To Use Vanilla Beans

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? Here are 9 of our favorite ways. More

Scooped: Coffee 'N Cookies 'N Cream Ice Cream

This isn't to say I don't enjoy innovation with my Oreos; I just prefer to do the innovating myself. After spending a recent afternoon dipping Oreos into a mug of milky coffee, and going through yet another caffeine and sugar high rant about how coffee and chocolate combined ARE THE BEST THING EVER, I decided to try the mix as ice cream. Well, first I took a nap. Then ice cream. Long story short: it's a keeper. More

BraveTart: How to Make Your Own Nilla Wafers

Like loose change lurking in couch cushions, half eaten boxes of Nilla Wafers populate our cupboards; buried treasure lost amid the Seven Cs (cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereal, candy, chips, and cola). No Pantry Pirate ever sets out to find Nilla Wafers, instead, Nilla Wafers reveal themselves with the time is right. Just as despair sets in, the weary snacker sets eyes on their golden shores. More

Scooped: Scotch Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This is one of the best ice creams to come out of my kitchen, and is on the short list for best vanilla ice cream I've had anywhere. It's a classic French vanilla: flavors of butter and custard slink into the honeyed, floral, caramel notes of vanilla bean. The texture is pure silk. The aftertaste lingers and lingers. As for the Scotch, consider it vanilla enhancement. More

Preserved: Brandied Vanilla Pear Jam

For pear lovers, this jam is a must. I made it last week and I simply cannot stop eating it—with a spoon, straight from the jar. It combines juicy, mildly floral Bartlett pears with the seeds of a vanilla bean and generous pour of brandy. Try it with a cheese plate, or use it to dress up slices of simple gingerbread or pound cake. More

The Food Lab: Real Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Machine

When I say ice cream, I mean the real deal: Ice cream that's rich, smooth and creamy on the spoon. Ice cream that melts slowly into a luscious, tongue-coating custard. The kind of badass ice cream that makes lesser people feel guilty for eating it. The kind of ice cream worth getting out of bed in the middle of the night for. I mean real ice cream. My goal this week: Keep the ice cream, lose the machine. More

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