Tag Archives: Vanilla

Tasting Notes: Xanath Vanilla Liqueur

There was a reason why I asked about State Liquor Stores were an archaic remnant of the early 20th century. It was due to this bottle of Xanath Vanilla Liqueur pictured to the left.

I’m not too fond of a great many of the schnapps and flavored vodkas that typically litter the shelves of these places. They’re either too sweet or they reek of hype . Does the market really support five different versions of cinnamon schnapps?

Because space is limited, when a liquor store maintains space for 50 different types of vodka, it means less space for other products. Because of this, bottles of liquor that are truly unique are often regulated to a “special offer” table, if they’re offered at all. Most of my favorite liquors that I’ve discovered over the past few years have been found in this fashion. I realize that I’m not the typical liquor store patron, but part of me still thinks that there are many liquors out there, both new and old, that are not getting a fair shot in the marketplace.

This Xanath Vanilla Liqueur is a perfect example of this. Both Tara and I were very impressed with the flavor fond within this peculiar-looking bottle. While the flavor of vanilla was omnipresent, it was far more complex than that. It carried very distinct taste of honey underneath the vanilla, and had just a hint of cinnamon beneath that. To Tara’s surprise, it’s not overly sweet. It’s a far more complex flavor than that of those found in the vanilla vodkas out there. It’s more viscous than the vodkas out there as well, having a mouthfeel more akin to schnapps.

It works quite was as an digestif, or even as a mixer. We’ve taken to mixing it with 1 part liqueur to 3-4 parts water, poured over ice and then adding sliced strawberries. It also mixes quite well with cola.

I know that when I go back to the liquor store, the chances are slim for me finding another bottle of this exceptional liqueur. That’s a shame. Because there are several gins and vodkas which could easily give up their space for this bottle.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

butter cream icing

Well, in actuality, this is Vanilla Neoclassic buttercream icing, at least according to Rose Levy Beranbaum, authos of the rightfully lauded Cake Bible. The difference between classic and neo-classic is that the neo has corn syrup, whilst the classic recipe uses water.

Icing is one of those foodstuffs that remind me of childhood, what with the ritual of “The Licking of the Spoon” after my mom had completed the icing recipe. However, unlike the childhood cliche of the smiling kid enjoying this rare treat, whomever recieved the icing spoon at our house was looked upon with suspicion and malice. Post-Icing, the household broke down into a scene out of “The Call of the Wild”.

At any rate, I’m a huge fan of butter cream icing, enjoying them more than your typical Whipped cream icing that you see in use at Supermarket bakeries. However, if you use this icing, use a light hand when applying it to your cake. Too much icing will overwhlem the taste of the cake.

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (The iner the grain, the better)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons Vanilla extract

In a large glass bowl, place the egg yolks. Whisk together thoroughly.

Place a small sauce pan over medium heat, and pour in the sugar and the corn syrup. Stir constantly until the sugar is incorporated and the syrup comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a small glass bowl in order to prevent any further cooking of the syrup.

Pour the syrup into the egg yolks, beating the egg yolks all the while. This is a task that an electric better (or better yet, a stand up mixer) excels.

Once the syrup is mixed into the egg yolks, beat in the softened butter and the vanilla until thick and fluffy.

Technorati Tags: Recipes, Icing, Buttercream Icing

Is Vanilla on the Extinction List?

Tana, a frequent visitor to this blog, has her own very fabulous site full of information about local and small farms. It’s one of many sites I try to visit on a regular basis.

Last week, she had one of the better food posts I’ve recently read. Patricia Rain, the Vanilla Queen, passed along some information for Tana to post that I feel that most foodies should read. Especially those of you into desserts and sweets.

The post entitled Saving Pure Vanilla is much worth the time.

And many thanks to Tana and Patricia, for making this issue better known.