(Disclaimer: Although it appears that way, the flecks have not been added using Photoshop.)
If you're sharp like a scimitar, you already guessed that I'm talking about vanilla beans. Justin, a stellar feller from Marx Foods, arranged for the wholesale company to send me a sample of its vanilla beans. I promptly got two varieties--Madagascar and Tahitian.
I'd been hanging onto the beans but never forgetting about them, waiting for the perfect place to try them out. When we decided to have waffles on the first morning of 2010, it occurred to me that they'd be an ideal place for some robust vanilla flavor.
I was right. The waffle batter, while good, really benefited from the boost of vanilla bean. (I used the Madagascar variety, simply because the name lists bourbon in parentheses. Was that wrong?) I love the fleckage, too--so picturesque and attractive. Thanks, Justin--now that I've had a taste, I can't wait to try the beans in other recipes!
For the record, I slathered one half of my waffle with peanut butter and maple syrup while the other half received a dousing of homemade strawberry preserves. Yep, I guess I essentially greeted the new year with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich smothered in maple syrup. 'Twas a good start indeed.
(makes 4 vaffles)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
2 vanilla beans
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and fat. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Whisk in the vanilla bean seeds until evenly distributed.
Pour batter onto your preheated, greased waffle iron and bake according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately with plenty of preserves, syrup, butter, and whatever else might float your boat, flip your ship, or crack your kayak.