Vanilla beans are most well-known for their use in baking to add that delicious and distinctive vanilla flavor. But natural vanilla beans can be used for so much more than just cakes, cookies, and custards! Here are some creative and unusual ways to make the most of vanilla beans:
Make Vanilla Extract from Scratch
Instead of buying vanilla extract, you can easily make your own by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol like vodka or rum for a few months. Homemade vanilla extract has a richer, more nuanced flavor than store-bought versions. Use it to enhance everything from oatmeal to cocktails.
Infuse Your Morning Coffee
Add a vanilla bean to your coffee grounds before brewing for a subtly sweet and aromatic cup of java. The vanilla scent will give your morning routine a luxurious feel.
Create Vanilla Bean Infused Oil
Steep chopped vanilla beans in a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil to infuse the oil with vanilla flavor. Use the infused oil for cooking, drizzling over vegetables, even as a body oil!
Make Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is an easy way to sweeten and flavor drinks and desserts. Make it extra special by adding split vanilla beans as the sugar and water mixture simmers. Use vanilla bean simple syrup in cocktails, lemonades, yogurt parfaits, and more.
Craft a Vanilla Bean Candle
Vanilla's cozy scent lends itself perfectly to homemade candles. Add vanilla beans to melted beeswax and let the candles cure before lighting for an inviting vanilla aroma.
Whip Up Vanilla Bean Sugar Scrub
Mix together sugar, coconut oil and the seeds from vanilla beans to create a gently exfoliating and deliciously scented body scrub. Your skin will smell incredible!
Flavor Your Tea
Add a few drops of vanilla extract or a split vanilla bean to black, green, or herbal tea as it steeps for a lovely flavor boost. Vanilla goes great with floral and fruity tea blends.
The uses for vanilla beans go far beyond the realms of baking. With a little creativity, you can find ways to incorporate their signature aroma and flavor into all aspects of your cooking, beauty routine, and home. So don't reserve those vanilla beans just for cookies; make the most of these fragrant pods!