Close your eyes for a second and imagine the sweet smell of vanilla. Now, keep them closed and think about the last time you baked and used vanilla extract. Did the results give you that sweet flavor stored in your memory? Probably not, because vanilla extract uses alcohol that allows most of the flavor to evaporate during the baking process.
The good news is, you can infuse your baking with that sweet vanilla aroma and taste if you switch to vanilla bean powder.
Unadulterated, pure vanilla powder is the secret ingredient used by a lot of professional bakers.
You can take your spent vanilla bean pods and mix them into your coffee beans.. Grind them up together and the result is homemade French vanilla coffee. You can also dry the spent pods and add them to your sugar jar for some vanilla-flavored sugar.
In this tutorial, we will teach you how to make vanilla powder for immediate use or for storage. You will need only one ingredient: vanilla beans. You will also need something to process the vanilla beans into a fine or coarse powder (depending on your preference), like a grinder.
One vanilla bean pod is only going to make enough vanilla powder for a few recipes, depending on what you are using it for. I suggest grinding a few vanilla beans at one time and then storing the rest for later use, as the powder can last for a long time.
Cut the beans lengthways and open them slightly.
The natural way to dry Vanilla beans is in the sun, if you are lucky enough to be living in a sun-kissed region and have the luxury of time, you can place your vanilla beans in the sun for a 5-7 days for them to dry out.
If you don't have the time for this. It is also sufficient to place the pods in a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 5 minutes over a heat of 350 F (180 degree celsius).
Take them out of the oven and let them cool.
Cut into small pieces and grind in a food processor until they have a consistency of ground coffee beans!
Use straight away or store in an air tight container to keep fresh for future use!
Now that you know how to make vanilla powder, have a little fun with it. You can almost never go overboard with vanilla powder, so have some fun mixing it into everything. The texture of buttercreams is never offset by powder additions, and you can easily mix it with butter and sugars for sauces that delight all of your senses.
Just a pinch of vanilla powder mixed with sea salt creates the perfect topping for cookies. Another pinch mixed with sugar is a great way to coat fried items like doughnuts or churros or add it to your homemade ice cream. You can add it to cake batter and even blend it into your coffee.
Once you are done experimenting, store your vanilla powder in a plastic or glass jar. Typically, it is best to keep ground vanilla in a dark area like a closet or cupboard that is not too close to the stove or microwave. You never want to refrigerate vanilla powder because it will dry out the mixture and ruin the oils.
If stored correctly, vanilla powder should last for about a year, so you can make one large batch and save yourself some future hassle.