Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2015 Contents Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 22, 2015
AS SPICES AND FLAVOURINGS go, vanilla is the second most
expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed
pods is labour-intensive.
(MAKES APPROXIMATELY TWO DOZEN COOKIES)
Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued
for its flavour and also its scent, especially in per-
fume manufacturing. Vanilla comes from a vari-
ety of the vanilla orchid and when pollinated,
grown into a pod, which is grown mainly in Mex-
ico, Madagascar, Central America and the West
Indies. There are four basic types, Bourbon
Vanilla, Mexican Vanilla, Tahitian Vanilla and
West Indian Vanilla. An interesting titbit from
Wikipedia explains that Vanilla was completely
unknown in the Old World before Cortez, and
Spanish explorers arriving on the Gulf Coast of
Mexico in the early 16th century gave vanilla its
current name. Spanish and Portuguese sailors
and explorers brought vanilla into Africa and Asia
later that century. They called it 'vainilla', or "little
pod". The word vanilla entered the English lan-
guage in the 1754, when the botanist Philip Miller
wrote about the genus in his Gardener's Diction-
ary. Vanilla is from the diminutive of 'vaina', from
the Latin vagina (sheath) to describe the way
the pod must be split open to expose the seeds.
While the professional chefs among us will be
able to get their hands on actual vanilla pods, the
rest of us are accustomed to seeing vanilla in liq-
uid forms, i.e. vanilla extract or more commonly,
vanilla essence, which is a staple in my house so
my cakes, punches and even my mauby drinks
get a lovely boost from this. And so, I'm only too
happy to share my two favourite recipes this
week, utilising this lovely scent and flavour which
I am sure you will enjoy.
1. Combine the flour and baking
powder and set aside.
2. Cream the sugar and butter. Add
the egg and extracts and mix.
Gradually add the flour mixture
and beat just until combined,
scraping down the bowl, especially
3. The dough will be crumbly, so
knead it together with your hands
as you scoop it out of the bowl for
4. Roll onto a floured surface and cut
5. Place on parchment lined baking
sheets, or place on a Silpat (silicone
baking sheet), and bake for 10-12
minutes at 350°F.
6. Let them sit a few minutes on the
sheet, then transfer to a cooling
1. Whisk all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher or large
bowl until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
2. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-
quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze ac-
cording to manufacturer's instructions.
(Instructions and times will vary.)
3. Remove container with ice cream from ice-
cream maker, and place in freezer 15 minutes.
Transfer to an airtight container; freeze until
firm, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
For the lovers of multi-flavours, here are some
easy variations of this simple recipe.
No-Cook Chocolate Ice Cream: Omit sugar, vanilla,
and whole milk. Add 2 cups whole chocolate milk
and 2/3 cup chocolate syrup. Proceed as directed.
(Makes 1 quart.)
No-Cook Chocolate-Almond Ice Cream: Prepare
No-Cook Chocolate Ice Cream as directed. Remove
container with ice cream from ice-cream maker,
and place in freezer. Freeze 15 minutes. Stir 3/4
cup toasted sliced almonds into prepared ice
cream. Place in an airtight container; freeze until
firm. (Makes 1 1/4 quarts.)
No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream: Omit vanilla, and
reduce whole milk to 1 1/2 cups. Process 1 (16-
ounce) container of fresh strawberries or 1 (16-
ounce) package thawed frozen strawberries, 2
tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a
blender or food processor until smooth. Stir into
milk mixture. Proceed as directed. (Makes 1 1/2
No-Cook Coconut Ice Cream: Omit vanilla and
sugar, and reduce whole milk to 1/2 cup. Whisk 1
(13.5-ounce) can coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fresh
lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into milk mix-
ture. Proceed as directed. Serve ice cream with
toasted coconut, shaved chocolate, or chopped
macadamia nuts. (Makes 1 quart.)
Cook's note: To make a tropical sundae, top co-
conut ice cream with sliced bananas, mango slices,
and pineapple chunks.
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