This is a very frugal recipe where you dont waste a single vanilla seed and really make the most out of this gorgeous, and pricey, spice. Vanilla beans are the stamen of a particular orchid and so it makes sense why they are so prized. Like saffron you can really tell the real from the fake and this set of recipes lets you enjoy these beans to their full potential.
Vanilla Paste and Extract
12 vanilla beans
1 bottle of brandy
½ cup of ‘sweetner’
– honey, maple, rice malt syrup, coconut nectar etc
Spiced Hazelnut Mylk and Meal
1/2 cup hazel nuts (or nut of choice)
dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground allspice or a clove
Snip the ends of the vanilla beans into a bowl then chop the beans into 1cm pieces directly into your food processor. I use a Thermomix. Blend on high (speed 10) until the beans are as broken down as your processor can get them. Add half the bottle of brandy and the sweetner.
You can omit the brandy in the paste and just use 1 cup of sweetener if you prefer. It wont last as long though and as I use both in cooking the brandy should cook out. Plus you don’t use much.
Blend on high for 1-2 minutes then scrape down and repeat (Thermy speed 10 for 1 minute and repeat).
Scrape your paste into a clean jar and pop all the tips of your beans into your half full brandy bottle.
The paste is ready to use right away and the extract needs a few weeks to infuse.
Now DON’T WASH your blender. Once scraped out make your mylk.
Soak the hazelnuts overnight to activate if you have time, otherwise cover with boiling water and soak for 10 minutes. Strain and blend with the spices and 1 cup of water for 1-2 minutes. The more water the more milk but the thinner it will be. (thermy speed 10 for 1 minute). You can easily double or triple the amount of nuts/spices/water for more mylk and meal.
Strain through a ‘nut milk bag’ or a clean tea towel and save the meal for making cookies. Use both within a few days or freeze the meal to use later. I keep a container in the freeze and top with any nut meal I get from making nut mylks until I have enough for a cake. However this is very special vanilla-spiced meal so its great to use for a batch of cookies all on its own. Recipe for those later!
The paste extract make great gifts portioned down into smaller jars or bottles and the cookies are very yummy with a coffee made with your spiced mylk! I know santa is going to enjoy a nice plate of cookies with chilled spiced mylk in a few days 😉