Today, we’re sharing our big-little secret for making the most flavoursome cakes, cupcakes, ice creams and even meringues! ‘Big’ because that’s how we feel when we share something that’s so close to our hearts; and ‘little’ because by the end of this post you will discover that it’s the little things that make all the difference. Are you ready? It’s Sprig’s All Natural Vanilla Extract!
You’re starting to get a bit cross with us aren’t you? After all, every cake recipe you can think of calls for vanilla, doesn’t it? And you’ve been using the one sold in little jars at the local kirana store, the only difference is that it is labelled ‘Vanilla Essence’ instead. Aaah! Therein lies the difference! Sometimes, we just wish we could pop right through your phone or computer screens and make you smell the fragrance of the vanilla extract we’ve been using… it’s the sort of vanilla fragrance you would have been accustomed to smelling when a perfume has notes of vanilla. Add to that, the slightly deeper fragrance of Bourbon. Made with real vanilla pods that have been steeped in a combination of Bourbon and water, this is what sets Sprig’s All Natural Vanilla Extract apart and quite honestly, the secret ingredient that’s been earning our baking the ‘brownie points’.
But what about the ‘essence’ that is sold in those little bottles? A whiff of that is not likely to leave you with any such feeling or aroma. Instead, it’s all synthetic. As it is with food, our senses never lie to us and are the best guides to tell us the truth about what we are putting into our bodies. Essence is entirely a chemical creation and has nothing to do with real vanilla; it only tries to mimic its presence in baked goods.
Sprig’s All Natural Vanilla Extract, on the other hand, is the real deal- made with real vanilla beans. Harvesting vanilla pods is no easy task, it is a laborious, largely manual process where the vanilla orchid plant is carefully nurtured and the young vanilla pods are picked before they ripen and immediately dunked in hot water and then left to dry for a few months. It’s sort of like wine-making, where the cost of the barrel and storage is what makes up the cost of a bottle of wine. Plus, in the case of Sprig’s Vanilla Extract, the pods are sourced from Madagascar – responsible for more than half the vanilla production in the world.
Unlike the hot and humid climate that the plant grows in, vanilla extract is made in a cool, dry and dark (literally, away from sunlight) environment and that’s how we store it too, in a dark cupboard. The pods are left to steep in Bourbon, and impart all their flavour, again for a few weeks at least. With all this effort behind the one ingredient that you add about a teaspoon-full of to a cake – trust us, the difference is stark. It’s only after you’ve tried and tasted the difference that you would know how ‘artificial’ essence tastes.
There was a time when this essence is all that you could find in India, it’s what we grew up watching our Mothers use too. But they were just trying to make the best of what was available to them. Then came a time when we relied on food-loving friends to bring back bottles of precious vanilla extract from trips abroad, when we weren’t stuffing them into our suitcases from trips abroad ourselves. But thankfully, you don’t have to do that anymore! Sprig All Natural Vanilla Extract is available online and in stores and will save you all this hassle. Above all, the compliments you get from making even a simple Pound Cake with some Sprig All Natural Vanilla Extract, will make you wonder why you hadn’t thought of this sooner. It’s the je ne sais quoi in every bite of anything you bake with it, and you’ll find that a little goes a long way in terms of flavour. And since we can never have too many compliments from our family and friends (really, can it ever be enough?) we’ve been adding just a dash to milkshakes for kids too! Aaah, there’s no turning back now!
Go on, pick up a bottle today and enjoy the difference it will make to your baking. http://bit.ly/2bAswVt