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For the purest vanilla flavor and a presentation that showcases vanilla's characteristic flecks, go straight for the beans. Our Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans are black, glossy, moist and supple. They're loaded with tiny caviar-like seeds, each one bursting with rich vanilla aroma and taste. Some recipes call for splitting the bean and using only the seeds, others call for using the bean itself.
Both bean and seeds can be recycled for another sweet treat: Rinse and dry after using a few times and bury vanilla beans in 1-2 cups of granulated or confectioner's sugar and cover. After a few weeks, you will have delicious vanilla sugar to use in your espresso and your cookie and cake recipes (1 tbsp. vanilla sugar=1/4 tsp. vanilla extract).
You can also substitute vanilla beans for vanilla extract (one vanilla bean=one tbsp. vanilla extract).
Store vanilla beans in a cool air-tight container; do not refrigerate.
How to Cut A Vanilla Bean: Lay the bean flat on wax paper (so you don't lose any precious seeds) on a cutting surface. Carefully cut at the center, then cut toward each end. Once the bean is split open, scrape the tiny seeds out with the blade of the knife. (By cutting the bean open before placing it in a liquid, more of the surface of the bean is exposed, intensifying the flavoring properties.) Optional first step: Soften the bean by steaming for a minute or two.