As you all know, Vanilla has overtaken Thursdays on Cooking with Books! August needed some love (other than Banana Lover’s Day on August 27th and y’all KNOW I will be celebrating that day to the extreme!), so the Vanilla Thursday posts are brought to you courtesy of the gorgeous beans, powders and extracts from Beanilla. If you missed the first post, check it out here and then come back for more!


For the next two Vanilla posts, we’ll be focusing specifically on the following vanilla bean producing countries: India, Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico. I’ve tested each bean out on a specific recipe, one that will let the bean flavors shine through. Today, we travel to India and Madagascar!

Crossing an ocean and arriving in India, nothing would beat the Indian heat more than BraveTart’s Vanilla Cream Soda. I cut the recipe in half (as well as the vanilla bean) and made the syrup the night before. When I opened the bag where the beans where living, I was invaded with not only vanilla aromas, but chocolate as well! I thought my mind was going crazy until I read the description “bold, dark vanilla flavor with tones of smoke and chocolate.” They weren’t joking, the smell is intoxicating and the beans were the largest and thickest of the four sampled. As I snipped one in half, the seeds inside almost oozed out and the amount of scrapings I obtained from half of a bean was amazing. (By the way, is there a job that entails scraping the insides of vanilla beans? Where can I send my resume in?)


Making the traditional recipe wasn’t enough, so to sweeten the deal even more, I added a packet of True Lemon Raspberry and mini-cantaloupe balls. Next time, I’ll freeze the melon balls and use them as ice! The flavors were layered, with the Indian bean being the most powerful flavor. The acid and tartness the True Lemon added was welcomed and cut through the sweetness.


Hoping over to Madagascar and what is spelled like Madagascar? Marshmallows! (I know, that’s a stretch but hey, I wanted to make mallows!) Honey-Vanilla Marshmallows that is (again, using BraveTart’s Marshmallow recipe. I seriously love this girl and her recipes!) Using Chamiso Seasonal from Grampa’s Honey and the Madagascar bean, these were a hit! The Chamiso honey with Vanilla Bean layered in the fluff, made these a great treat to snack on and no corn syrup! Follow this link for more information on honey, but first let’s talk about the Madagascar bean.


The Madagascar bean is thinner than the Indian bean, also shorter. It’s the most popular variety of vanilla bean in the world and the smell is what you’d expect from vanilla. Floating off the coast of Africa, Madagascar beans have a slight “creaminess” to them, one that is best described as buttery. When used in the marshmallow, the flavor coats your mouth, as butter would. I also made a separate batch of marshmallows coated in a mixture of powdered sugar and vanilla powder, emphasizing the vanilla love and these were also a hit!

If these vanilla beans were each a Top Chef contestant, I’d give the first place prize to the Indian beans. Not only for their size and amount of scrapings, but they add depth to whatever you are making with them; they’re not only vanilla – they’re earthy, almost like umami. The Madagascar beans faired well, but just didn’t impress me as much as the Indian beans did. And since the Indian Beans are thicker and longer, you’ll need much less of them!
Thanks for visiting on Vanilla Thursday! Next week, we’ll fly to Mexico and Tahiti so get your bikinis, sunscreen and beach towels ready!

Disclaimer: Vanilla samples were sent by Beanilla, free of charge. All opinions are 100% honest, because what would be the point of this then? I was not monetarily compensated for a positive review.

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  1. What a great post! I could sniff vanilla 24 hours and day and never get tired of it. One of my favorite aromas. Thanks for this great post.

  2. I could imagine…how heavenly it would be working all day long with vanilla. The drink looks refreshing. Happy weekend Nella 🙂

  3. I love Madagascar Bourbon vanilla. I love their liquid vanilla as well as their vanilla paste. Great post.

  4. Love these Vanilla bean series Nelly. Curious what else you came up with. Wink. Srsly, curioues! Yeah isn’t Stella great?! & you are pretty great my friend too!