Vanilla has always been apple of my eye when compared with other universal flavors. Did you know vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, due to extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. And still I am sure we all love vanilla flavor for its oure and delicate flavor which is described by author Frederic Rosengarten Jr as "peculiar bouquet". The most common types of vanilla pods are Bourbon or Madagascar vanilla, Mexican vanilla and Tahitian vanilla.
Vanilla beans are not easily available in India though few super markets do sell them but one really needs to search a lot. My sources say that the only place in india where you can find Vanilla pods is Kerala so if any of your friends and family coming down from kerala or visiting kerala dont forget to request them to get a bunch of fresh vanilla beans for you! I probably dont mind visiting Kerala only to buy vanilla pods, I am sure its worth it! Or if anyone coming down from US or EU you can request them to get vanilla pods from there as well as I too got mine from Switzerland, a little expensive but I have no complains! Planning to request few more, hope D is listening :-)
Recipe is adapted from Deeba's blog, which can be found here
Recipe yields 12 medium muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
*1 vanilla bean or use 1 tsp vanilla extract
* Tip - Slice the vanilla bean from middle and scrape the sides using back of a knife to remove the seeds
- Gease and line 12 muffins cups or muffin pan.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Sieve flour, baking powder and baking soda.
- Beat butter and sugar together in a seperate bowl for 2 to 3 mins until light and fluffy.
- Add in one egg at a time and beat well between each addition.
- Add in flour and milk alternatively in 3 additions. Beat well after each addition.
- Add in the scraped vanilla seeds and mix well.
- Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake them at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 mins, until tooth pick inserted comes out clean/
- Remove from oven and cool them completely, you can see the muffins leaving the side of the pan.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, its a perfect tea time cake!