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Vanilla Ice Cubes- Nice, Nice Baby!

by The Vanilla Guru on 09/01/12

A friend shared a vanilla ice cube recipe the other day and of course being the Vanilla Guru we needed to check it out.  The cubes solve the problem of the watery ice cube ruining your drink and will add a creamy element to whatever you're drinking.  If you look us up on facebook you'll see a photo of ours.  Must admit ours are much darker but we did use the optional extract and substituted our vanilla sugar. Basic recipe is mix 2 cups almond milk, 1/3 cup Mannix Vanilla Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of 2x Mannix Vanilla Extract,1 bean scraped (save and use pod later-see previous post) and 1/2 teaspoon of Mannix Ground Vanilla.  Heat in pot below boiling over medium high heat for about 15 minutes stirring often.  Cool to room temperature and pour into two trays.  Some like it in ginger ale root beer or other soft drinks.  

Perfecting the Art of Cookie Baking with Parchment Paper

by The Vanilla Guru on 08/26/12

There are many reasons to use parchment paper (PP) for baking but this post concentrates on how using it will take your rolled cookies to that next level of cookie perfection.  So here are my top 3 reasons to use it.  

1.  My top reason is that when you use PP and not rolling out cookies with flour, your dough is perfect from start to finish.  When you use flour you're incorporating that into your dough.
2. Clean up is such a breeze.  You don't have to wash your rolling pin or cookie sheets. This is such a time saver!
3. While your cookies are baking you can set up the next batch to go on the cookie sheet--just cool the cookies and pan and slide the PP on to the counter.  Another time saver!

Creme Brulee..Vanilla Sugar and the Vanilla Trifecta

by The Vanilla Guru on 08/21/12

Happy to see that Alton Brown uses vanilla sugar in his creme brulee recipe.  He inspired us to do the same and we're now sharing our updated recipe here.  Remember it's not creme brulee (translation...burnt creme) without the caramelization so why not take it to the next level and caramelize with Mannix Vanilla Sugar?  Create the perfect vanilla trifecta by adding a little ground vanilla and the insides (caviar) of a scraped bean. Even creme brulee connoisseurs will appreciate the delicious difference.  Share a recipe here and will send you a fresh vanilla bean!

Getting the Most Out of Your Vanilla Bean

by The Vanilla Guru on 08/17/12

I’m really enjoying my new practice of making quality vegetarian broth for no money just by saving my vegetable discards in the freezer until I need to “stock” up.  So I was thinking…don’t I do this with vanilla beans?  Being in the vanilla business I have access to the freshest beans around but how I can transfer this “use every part” mentality as it relates to vanilla beans?   I realize I already do, so here are my suggestions to get the most of your vanilla bean.  

Start the day with the most amazing French toast by adding ½ of the insides of a bean to your favorite recipe. Google how to split and scrape a bean.  (In keeping with the spirit, I prefer to use leftover French bread.)

Cut that part of the scraped bean in half, throw a piece in your coffee and taste the difference vanilla makes in hot drinks.  Yum! Save the other half of your bean for later.

Need a mid-day pick me up or quick, natural air freshener?   Take the other half of the scraped bean and put it in 1 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for two to three minutes. Sit it out on the counter to enjoy your vanilla aromatherapy.

Later, impress your most-love one or two by making their favorite dessert substituting the insides of a fresh Mannix vanilla bean.  Don’t throw out the scraped bean of course!

Start your own vanilla sugar by placing it in a bowl of sugar.  Not enough time, buy ours! J

P.S.  Neutralize paint latex paint odors by using Mannix Vanilla Extract instead. Because ours is double-strength it only takes 6 drops or an 1/8th of a teaspoon for every 3 quarts. Here are the directions.


Happy 100th Birthday, Julia!

by The Vanilla Guru on 08/15/12

The fact I voted for Emily Ellyn in the last Food Network Star finals might be an indicator that the reality food shows rank high in the Mannix household.  But long before Arti’s Party and Master Chef (nod to Rhonda Sweet who was a MC finalist and uses Mannix Vanilla) I remember being able to count on three TV channels, ABC, CBS and PBS—four, if you count the iffy/fuzzy NBC.  Somewhere in that mix (thinking it was my first PBS experience on black and white TV, of course) I remember seeing Julie Child’s cooking shows.  Foreign in so many ways to the cooking I was raised on, her passion and commitment was evident then and continues to encourage me.  Today, on what would have been her 100th birthday, I think of all she’s influenced over the years and in that honor (although I won’t promise to make one of her recipes every day—a la Julie and Julia) I do promise 3 things in honor of her dedication and passion: (1) I will finally get to reading the book As Always, Julia… (2) I will make her famous Vanilla Soufflé dessert and (3) I will share with you about the first two commitments.  For all my foodie friends who really want to celebrate her, check out PBS.