The tradition of cutting down an evergreen, placing it in a stand, lighting it up and garnishing it with ornaments began in the early 1600s. The evergreen symbolized life when every other tree had shed its leaves -- the evergreen remained green and lush. The very first holiday lights were candles, and they often symbolized loved ones, friends and family. Many of these first trees were decorated with fresh garlands of berries and baked cookies. Electricity introduced the first electrified strings of lights, and homemade ornaments of fruits and cookies were replaced with glass balls and molded plastic figurines. Many of these ornaments have been lovingly collected over the years, with each having a special meaning of a specific place or time in our lives.
Pure Vanilla Extract. Prized for its rich, complex flavor and incredibly smooth aroma, pure vanilla extract should be a mainstay in a culinary enthusiast's kitchen. There is no substitute for quality and flavor. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from whole vanilla beans extracted using 35%+ alcohol - that's it! Don't be fooled by extracts that claim to be pure; imitation and clear vanilla utilizes artificial flavors and harmful chemicals. That big bottle of Mexican vanilla (that sort of smells like suntan lotion); the one you brought back home from your vacation abroad, is likely not even vanilla at all...
Christmas is slowly creeping upon us. Have you started your naughty or nice list yet? Store bought gifts are nice, but a handmade gift is so much more thoughtful and personal. Beanilla is the perfect place to start! Whether you are making Christmas cookies for your neighbors, vanilla-lime infused vodka for your dad, or homemade vanilla extract for your friends and family that love to bake - we have the perfect products and gifts that will have your friends and loved ones thinking you are the next Martha Stewart.
Homemade vanilla extract is prized for its full, rich, complex flavor and an incredibly smooth aroma. Homemade vanilla extract is truly in a different league than what can be procured from most grocery stores. The difference between pure vanilla and imitation vanilla is simple. Pure vanilla extract is made from vanilla beans, while imitation vanilla utilizes imitation flavors and chemicals.
All photos courtesy of MyBakingAddiction.com
Making vanilla extract is fun and simple! Simply take 5 whole vanilla beans, split lengthwise and add to 8 ounces of 35%+ alcohol. Any type of alcohol can be used, but bottom shelf vodka is most common because it will not add any additional flavors to the extract. Bourbon, rum and brandy can also be used. After 8 short weeks the extract is ready to enjoy.