Vanilla beans are considered the most expensive agricultural commodity, after saffron. The vanilla bean is a fruit that is created as a result of pollinating orchid flowers and it’s so expensive because pollination has to be done by hand and on an individual basis. Nevertheless, vanilla with its exotic, luscious taste has crazed generations for centuries, creating a robust industry in the process. In cooking, vanilla beans are commonly replaced with vanilla extract, which is made by macerating vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol. For me, vanilla extract is better suited for baking things like cookies whereas vanilla beans are better for custards or baking fluffy desserts like cakes or muffins, besides the black specs add an elegant touch! Vanilla beans, which kind of look like little baby alien fingers can be a bit intimidating when you don’t…

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