Last October (in 2013) I decided to make my own homemade vanilla extract. I had been researching it for months and I really wanted to make it for myself and as gifts for Christmas for the ladies in my life.
One of my homemade bottles… on Instagram!
It turned out to be a wonderful thing to do – it ultimately saves me lots of money on vanilla, it was a perfect homemade gift, and the flavor is amazing! I know a few of you asked me about posting the recipe and maybe, just maybe I’ll eventually get around to that but for now, I want to talk about the vanilla beans.
You see it was all fine and good… except months later, as I start to empty the first of the bottles, I find myself staring at these “used” vanilla beans.
Since they were not cheap and I hated to just toss them out, I started searching for ways to use them and discovered that I could cut those babies open and scrape out the “good stuff” inside.
Apparently, it’s what they use to make to make vanilla bean paste and other deliciousness…. hello beautiful! Unfortunately, I’m not creative enough to come up with a good way to photograph the vanilla seeds that I scraped out of the bean, so that’ll just have to do!
You can mix it into *anything* that you want vanilla flavored (ice cream, frosting, whipped cream, cookie batter, etc.) or mix it into sugar and let it sit for a couple of weeks to make vanilla sugar or well… the sky is the limit!
My first use of that vanilla bean goodness … this vanilla bean buttercream frosting. It’s not a far stretch from my regular vanilla buttercream (I used the same proportions of butter, shortening and sugar), but you can definitely taste that this frosting is more potently vanilla!
Plus it has the added bonus of those tiny black flecks that just make the frosting look so much more interesting… don’t you think? Admittedly not everyone will see it that way… my kids thought I used a dirty frosting bag… buhahahahaha!
Back to seriousness… if you don’t have real vanilla beans, I highly recommend this Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. I’ve used it in the past and it is also amazing and would be perfect in this frosting!!
What do you think? Have you made vanilla bean frosting before? If not – will you be trying it soon? I sure hope so!! Here’s the printable recipe:Print
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening**
- 2 vanilla beans (seeded) OR 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-5 Tbsp. heavy cream (or milk if you don’t have cream)
- Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, vanilla bean paste (or the scrapings from 2 beans), and the vanilla extract with the paddle attachment, scraping down the sides as necessary. Unless you use a SideSwipe paddle like I do… then no scraping is needed 😉 Either way, continue mixing until it’s smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until it’s all incorporated and moist. The mixture will be stiff.
- When all the sugar is mixed in, you can begin to add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is good for you!
- I like the frosting to be stiff enough to pipe, but not so stiff that it makes my hand hurt! I know that’s an incredibly scientific texture, right?
- Add more milk and/or vanilla bean paste until it’s perfect for you!!
- **Before you ask… YES, you can use all butter and skip the shortening, but it will not hold up as well in heat (I live in Mississippi ya’ll) or pipe as beautifully because it will be a softer frosting. It will also have a slightly different taste and texture.
Keywords: vanilla, vanilla bean, buttercream, frosting, icing, vanilla bean buttercream, cake