One of my favorite memories as a kid was when my dad would get up early and make pancakes on Saturday mornings. My brother and I would enjoy a stack of steaming hot flapjacks while watching Super Friends, Scooby Doo, or Fat Albert.
While cartoons are available all the time now, I still enjoy making pancakes for my kids on Saturday mornings. It’s an easy meal and one they enjoy, but I’m always looking for ways to change up my cakes. Chocolate chips are always a favorite, walnuts a bit less, and bananas only made it one week. Blueberries are great but aren’t available all the time. However, I’ve recently started making pancakes with Vain Vanilla Extracts, and the improvement is unbelievable!
Vain makes small-batch vanilla extracts with vanilla beans sourced from around the globe. Unlike most extracts, the good people of Vain have taken the time to pair the unique flavor profile of each bean with a spirit that complements the flavors of the beans. The result is sixteen flavors of vanilla that will blow you away. For example, the beans from Tonga have a perceptible fruity flavor and nose, reminiscent of a red wine. These have been paired with an orange-infused vodka (which they make, in-house) for an absolutely succulent depth of flavor that is, at once, both sweet and savory.
They also offer a premium vanilla that has quickly become my favorite, Tahitian Vanilla Extracted in Cane Rum. Tahitian vanilla is some of the best you’ll find anywhere in the world. It has a floral, almost cherry flavor to it and, when paired with the caramel sweetness of cane rum, the sensations are absolute heaven. I’ve been using the Tahitian Vanilla Extracted in Cane Rum to turbo-charge my pancakes, and it’s amazing how a simple and small addition can be an absolute game-changer in terms of flavor.
I’m not fancy with my pancakes. I’ve tried going completely from scratch with recipes like Mark Bittman’s Everyday Pancakes, which are definitely good, but I don’t see a tremendous difference to the super-easy, tried and true Bisquick recipe:
- 2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Tahitian Vanilla Extracted in Cane Rum
(I simply add a single teaspoon of Tahitian Vanilla Extracted in Cane Rum for each cup Bisquick I use.)
- Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375°F; grease with cooking spray, vegetable oil, or shortening. (Surface is ready when a few drops of water sprinkled on it dance and disappear.)
- Stir all ingredients until blended. Pour by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls onto hot griddle.
- Cook until edges are dry. Turn; cook until golden.
Vanilla extract is simple–in its purest form, it’s just vanilla beans left to sit in spirits. At least that’s how Vain does it. While the stuff you will find at the supermarket has other additives like artificial flavors and corn syrup and uses grain alcohol, Vain is honestly crafted from just vanilla beans and premium spirits.
Buying Vain vanilla is a little like buying small-batch bourbon. Because it’s handcrafted, each bottle of their 4 oz. vanilla has a bean and a half in the bottle and a hand-signed label noting the batch number. It’s remarkably clean vanilla extract of extraordinary quality. It’s like nothing you’ve ever smelled or tasted before, and using Vain will change the way you bake. I know, this sounds like hyperbole, but it’s true. We’ve started using their vanilla exclusively, and everything just tastes better. It’s a simple change that not only makes us feel adventurous, but the results are immediate and almost always commented on.
Plus, they’ve got plenty of suggestions for more than just baking. Whether using their drops in my morning coffee (instead of using sweetener) or relaxing with their version of a Dark & Stormy or the tasty Ginger Apple Spritzer (with Mexican Vanilla in Apple Brandy), just a little Vain improves just about anything.
In honor of Father’s Day, Vain is offering free shipping through June 30. Just enter GEEKDAD at checkout. So forget the socks this Father’s Day, instead treat dad to some vanilla that’s anything but plain.
[We’d like to thank Vain Foods for sponsoring this post!]