Thursday, June 16, 2011
Kitchen Essentials: Pure Mexican Vanilla
Suzie and I have decided to start a new post series called "Kitchen Essentials" wherein we discuss items, both products and gadgets, that we feel are must haves in our kitchens. I have the pleasure of starting us off with the ingredient that I couldn't live without in my baking, pure mexican vanilla.
In college I lived with three girls for two years: Kara, AJ and Stephanie. Every few months or so Kara's aunt would send her a care package full of cake mixes, brownie mixes and other food stuffs. Among the items provided to us by her aunt was a large bottle (think 32 ounces) of Danncy pure Mexican vanilla. Kara used this vanilla in all the desserts she made during those two years, which to our great fortune was quite a bit of cookies, cakes and pies. When we graduated, Kara gave me the bottle which was about 2/3 full since her aunt had already purchased her another one.
I still have that bottle today and use it in every recipe that calls for vanilla extract. The flavor profile achieved with the use of pure Mexican vanilla is more complex than when using the extract contained in the extracts produced by McCormicks or other domestic producers. Since my bottle was given to me, I'm not exactly sure what store fronts in the US would sell Danncy Pure Mexican Vanilla, but I know you can purchase it online. Just Google it and a list of online stores pop up.
I'm sure other brands would be just as good, just be sure it's pure vanilla and not imitation. I also read on the blog My Baking Addiction that you can make your own mexican vanilla extract by steeping Mexican vanilla beans in vodka. I haven't tried it yet, but it would be fun to make your own bottles to give as gifts.
Sorry I don't have any real pictures in this post, I know that can be annoying, but there's just so many pictures you can take of a bottle of vanilla.