The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway

Vanilla Beans

The Saffron saffron contest was so much fun, I decided to do another contest, The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway from As I mentioned previously, this is a company that provides amazing quality vanilla and saffron at some of the best prices I have ever seen. I’m not getting paid to promote their product, I approched them with the idea of a contest for you, my dear friends!

How do you use vanilla beans?
Carefully halve the bean lengthwise – and lay flat on your cutting board. With the back of your knife, scrape the thousands of vanillin seeds and pulp out. Each bean should yield about 1/2 tsp of vanillin seeds, which corresponds to 2-3 tsp of vanilla extract.

To make vanilla extract, take 1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Place in 3/4 cup of good vodka. Cover and store for 6 months.

How to buy vanilla beans?
According to, look for soft, plump vanilla beans with thin skin. Gently squeeze the vanilla bean with your fingers to feel how thick or thin the skin is. The bean should be black, full of aroma, and a little oily to the touch.

What do you do with the leftover pod?

  • Add it to a canister of sugar to make vanilla-infused sugar
  • Add to a pitcher of spiced or mulled wine
  • Add to a bottle of rum
  • Throw in pot with milk and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Dry, cut into 1/4″ pieces and throw it in your coffee grinder

What’s your favorite way to use the leftover pods?

Vanilla bean “caviar”:

Vanilla Bean Caviar

The Great Vanilla Bean Giveaway!

I’m going to randomly draw 8 lucky winners. Each winner will get 1/2 lb of vanilla beans. Take a look back at the first photo – that is what 1/2 lb looks like! Let’s do the math. The last contest had 137 entries. That’s a pretty good chance of winning!

What is your favorite dish using vanilla? The recipe can call for vanilla beans or vanilla extract.  It can be from your site or someone else’s site. It can be a recipe you’ve tried or it can be one that just looks delicious. See, I’m making it really really simple.

  1. Write the name of the dish below in the form. Link to the dish.
  2. In the comments section, write a comment letting me know that you want to be entered in the contest.

That is all. But you have to do both steps to be eligible.

Contest ends Wednesday, November 7th at noon EST. I’ll then randomly pick 8 winners. The company, will ship directly to you. Good deal?

**BONUS: If you post about this contest on your blog, I’ll give you an extra 2 entries! DUDE, how cool is that???

Enter Name of Dish and link to the dish

STEP 1: Forget Mr. Linky’s directions, follow mine (hey give me a break. It’s a free plugin. I can’t customize it) Enter name any recipe that uses vanilla extract or vanilla beans.  I don’t care who you are in this section. Just type  name of dish (i.e. “Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes”) and the link to it. You can list more than one recipe. We’ll compile a great list of favorite recipes that uses vanilla!

STEP 2: In the COMMENTS section, enter your name and say something, anything. You can give us vanilla tips, fav way to use the leftover pods, or just talk about the damn weather. I will draw from these names.

Wednesday 1:30pm. Contest is closed! I’ll be drawing names later this afternoon tonight tomorrow, after 1 2 3 too many nice, tall glasses of homemade Sangria! Accepting bribes of all sorts until 3pm-ish whenevrwrewrwerrrrrrrr.

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Comments 225

  1. Amy

    I’m such a dumdum. I put my name instead of the dish name. Whoops! Brain fart. 😀 Anyhoo, my fav use for vanilla beans is creme brulee. Yum!

  2. Erin

    I don’t have a recipe yet for my Grannie’s vanilla ice cream, It’s low fat and so delicious. mmmm. . .I’ll try to find it and post it. So yummy.

  3. Maninas

    Chocolate Brazil Soft-Baked Biscuits are the first biscuits that I made by myself! 🙂 Needless to say, I love the aroma of vanilla in them, that goes perfectly with nuts and chocolate!

  4. stickygooeycreamychewy

    Please enter me in the contest too. I chose homemade vanilla extract as my recipe, because with that, I can make a ton of other vanilla dishes, like ice ream, creme brulee and panna cotta. If I win, I’ll invite you over for some! (How’s that for shameless pandering?)

  5. Ed

    You know, I tried growing a vanilla orchid once, but it never flowered, let alone produced a single vanilla pod 🙁

    But I like ice cream where you can actually see vanilla seed flecks!

  6. Nate


    My “Chantilly Crepes” entry (#86) actually links to the video I made on YouTube of the process. The recipe is on the “About This Video” side panel if you click “More info”. I blogged about crepes on my site at

    and I will blog about the contest in a post later today.



    PS I have tried the Aidell’s Vanilla Brined Pork recipe and thought it was…interesting. I think I prefer more traditional ways to season pork.

  7. Jenny Thomas

    I know you already mentioned vanilla-infused sugar above, but thought it was worth mentioning again. My Austrian grandmother, an expert cook, always used to put a vanilla bean in her canister of sugar (whether it was regular or confectioner’s), as a way of making the sugar, and the resulting recipes … mmm, struedel … extra special.
    I found a link for this here:

  8. Melinda

    I chose a cookie recipe I would like to try from
    He always has something yummy cooking up with his wife. Plus I love the side blogs he does.
    If I win this many vanilla beans I will make creme brulee for the whole village! I will be hugely popular.

  9. Jeffrey Bary

    I submitted the Chocolate Marble Cake recipe from Paul Bocuse’s latest cookbook. It has a delicious vanilla suace.

  10. Emily Lauren

    I’ve been sort of dreaming about using vanilla with meat, so I was happy to have this excuse to search for recipes. One I found is Vanilla Brine for Pork. Yum!

    I will blog about this contest once I’m home, nothing like extra entries!

    And, if I win… presents for the holidays will abound!

  11. Stepho

    I love me some vanilla and I love me some cupcakes so I thought Vanilla Bean Black Cherry cupcakes would be a good fusion born out of love.

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  13. Chloe Chong

    Jaden ,
    Thank you for the great compliment.
    Have you made the brownies yet with your sons?
    I hope they turned out nicely =)

    Please enter me in the vanilla bean contest.
    thankyou xx

  14. Kim Carson Ray

    Hope I posted this right…it’s for chocolate chip bread pudding with cinnamon rum sauce. Going to make it at my work T-giving lunch. Thanks for the fun contest, Jaden!

  15. Nan

    When I saw that first picture, my heart almost stopped! It’s been so long since I’ve had the extra $$ to get real vanilla beans. My link up top is to ice cream I made this summer and LOVED, but how much more orgasmic would it be if made with fresh vanilla!! A real panty-dropper, that’s for sure.

  16. Tuan

    Try using infused vodka in your cocktails. This recipe shows you how to infuse vodka, the infused vanilla vodka is heavenly! Enjoy!!!

  17. Barbara

    My favorite things to do with vanilla beans is to stick one in a jar of sugar. It imparts that rich vanilla flavor and can be used for all your sweet baking as well as a nice surprise for your coffee drinking friends who look at you with surprise and ask what you did to make your coffee so good.

  18. Gina Maria

    I mentioned this on my blog, and was sent here by a friend.

    Vanilla is one of the most perfect flavors. There is no end to the depths it can go to, and the flavors it can bring out in other foods.

    The only advice I have to to not go cheap on it. It’s so vital, it should be the best you can get.

    Thaks for the contest!

  19. Jenn

    Hi! I added a cocktail. Mmmm – yummy! I also posted about this contest at my site. Thanks for having another contest!

  20. Yokito

    Enter me, please! One of these days, I’ll make the recipe that I submitted up above: Pear-Almond Tart With an Earl Grey Sauce…

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  22. Michelle

    one of my favorite applications was this 18 year macallan infused butterscotch pot de creme we made where i used to work. it is the BEST “adult” dessert i have ever had.

    i hope i win! cuz i am needing some new vanilla sugar!

  23. Micki

    I would love to make David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream. And it’s such a good idea, someone else posted the same thing!

  24. Christina

    I am entering the vanilla bean contest! I am going to try the cheesecake cupcakes and put some fall flavor in them with pumpkin and spices. Really I want to make mini pumpkin pie cheesecake cupcakes with mini Nilla cookies as the crust.

    Thanks for doing this! I enjoy reading your blog.

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