Friday, February 21, 2014

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Popcorn Chocolate Cupcakes are worthy of an Academy Award

It's Oscar night and your Academy Awards party is well under way. The stars have walked the red carpet. The fashionista police have scrutinized every sequin. You've thought of everything: great party favors, fun games to play, tasty food and libations. Ellen has kept your guests in stitches for a couple hours now. Everyone is waiting to know who will take home the Oscar for Best Picture. It's time for your closeup.

Just before they announce the winner for Best Picture you bring out the dessert. On your tray are the nominations for best chocolate cupcakes. Oozing with confidence you proudly list the ingredients: "Covered with brown butter vanilla bean frosting, topped with, yes that's right, a little brown butter, brown sugar vanilla bean popcorn and then, drizzled all over with chocolate."

Yes. These are insane. No doubt about it, the winner is… Sugared Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Popcorn Chocolate Cupcakes. Take a bow.

Find the recipe by Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest here.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ten Baking Blogs We Love

When it comes to creativity, the blogging community isn't short on bakers who continue to delight. We spend a lot of time looking for foodie inspiration and end up drooling over hundreds of delicious recipes and photos. In the spirit of Valentine's Day we thought we would share a little love for our some of our favorite blogs.

Here are 10 top baking bloggers we love to follow:


My Baking Addiction

Bake Your Day

Lovin' From the Oven

The Baker Chick

The Little Kitchen

Averie Cooks

Baking Makes Things Better

Joy The Baker

Chocolate-Covered Katie

Did we miss your favorite? Share it in the comments!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Foodie's Aphrodisiac - Give Vanilla for Valentine's Day

Vanilla Hot Chocolate
Aphrodisiac—even the word sounds mysterious and exotic. It means pertaining to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love.

Vanilla has been considered an aphrodisiac since the Spanish observed Moctezuma’s success with Aztec ladies after consuming a concoction of tlilxochitl and xocolatl (vanilla and chocolate).

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want life to be filled with a little more pleasure? So we tend to have faith in various elixirs, potions and foods to deliver. So what if the science doesn’t back the claims? If you’re not satisfied romantically, at least your appetite will be!

What is it about vanilla that inspires romance? The sweet, sultry aroma of chocolate, caramel and flowers is erotic yet innocent, exotic and homey all at once. The best part is deciding whether to drink it, eat it or dab a little vanilla behind your ear to draw your lover ever closer.

This Valentine’s day, take a tip from Moctezuma and include some vanilla in your chocolate! It could be in the form of a vanilla/chocolate martini (equal parts vanilla vodka and chocolate liqueur), or hot chocolate with split vanilla beans, vanilla extract or ground vanilla added to the milk.

Tahitian Vanilla Sampler
Vanilla From Tahiti Sampler Set
We're offering a special discount for our popular Vanilla Sampler Gift Set. This week (February 9 -February 15) if you buy two or more Gift Sets you'll automatically get a 15% discount! Shop now.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Not all vanilla is the same. Here's why.

Vanilla is vanilla is vanilla, right?

Vanilla beans are actually the fruit of a climbing orchid. The vanilla bean, or pod, contains thousands of tiny, dark seeds that carry the distinctive aroma and flavor of vanillin. The seeds and surrounding oil is where the unique fragrance and delicate flavors are concentrated.

Vanilla From Tahiti

Although there are over a hundred species of vanilla plants, there are three types of edible vanilla. Each type has distinct characteristics:
  • Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla, vanilla planifolia, is the most common and accounts for the great majority of vanilla on the market. Sweet with flowery notes and a clean, smooth flavor, this is the flavor most associated with vanilla. This vanilla is best in dishes where vanilla is the predominant flavor. This all-purpose vanilla can hold it's flavor in both hot and cold applications.
  • Mexican vanilla, also vanilla planifolia, is rich, creamy, nutty and has a potent perfume and spiciness that compliments chocolate, cinnamon and cloves. Avoid Mexican vanilla that doesn’t include vanilla beans as an ingredient, as it may be a cheap, copy-cat extract made from tonka beans which contains a toxin called coumarin. 
  • Tahitian vanilla, vanilla tahitensis (a different species), is a rare luxury. Tahitian vanilla is known for it's heady fragrance redolent of ripe cherries, caramel, chocolate, flowers and anise. Delicate Tahitian vanilla shines in cold applications such as custards, ice cream, fruit pies, frozen desserts and dishes that are not heated. This property makes Tahitian vanilla ideal for extract.
Plump and pliable Tahitian vanilla beans are significantly larger than other varieties. They are more moist with a soft, smooth, oily skin. Because the beans are so large, they also contain more caviar, or seeds. Professional pastry chefs prefer Tahitian vanilla for it’s subtlety and complexity.

Ready to try Vanilla From Tahiti? Visit our online store now.