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Getting More From Vanilla Beans

The Martha Stewart Show, February 2007

Chef Johnny Iuzzini shared his secrets for getting the most out of vanilla beans, since they can be expensive.

Vanilla Sugar
Place scraped vanilla pods in an airtight container filled with sugar. Let stand until pod is dry (this may take a week or more). Transfer sugar and vanilla pod to the bowl of a food processor; process until pods are finely ground. Use for added flavor when baking, in your favorite drinks, or sprinkled over fruit.

Candied Vanilla Strips and Vanilla Syrup
Mix together equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Add scraped vanilla pods and remove saucepan from heat; let stand at least 30 minutes. Remove vanilla pods from syrup and dry slightly. Keep syrup in an airtight container and use for ice cream. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Trim ends of vanilla pods and cut in half widthwise. Slice halves lengthwise into thin strips; coat with sugar. Place strips onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to oven; bake until completely dry. Use as a garnish for ice cream or cookies.