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wishingstars Vanilla Bean Loaves

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  • wishingstars Vanilla Bean Loaves

    wishingstar Posted April 05, 2006 06:15 AM
    This recipe is from the cookbook Cooking for Mr Latte, A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes, by Amanda Hesser. Amanda says that she adapted this recipe from the Hi-Rise Bread Company in Cambridge, MA. This bread is wonderful! It is so moist that it's almost like cake. This is excellent served at an afternoon tea. There are three forms of vanilla in the batter and two vanilla beans in the syrup. The vanilla sugar you make will be a fragrant addition to many other recipes, and the loaves freeze beautifully.

    3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 1/2 cups vanilla sugar (1 split vanilla bean stirred into 1 pound of sugar; let sit for a few days)
    1 vanilla bean
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    8 large eggs, room temperature
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Vanilla Syrup (see recipe below)

    Heavily butter or spray two similarly sized loaf pans, and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using a paddle attachment in your mixer, cream butter and vanilla sugar until mixture is pale and fluffy. Scrape the vanilla bean and flick its seeds into the mixer, along with the vanilla extract and eggs; beat to mix.

    Sift flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add to the batter and mix just until smooth ()a few turns of the paddle should do it. Take the bowl off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the bottom and fold the mixture a few times, to make sure everything is blended.

    Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the pans around, and bake an additional 25 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer comes out almost clean.

    While the loaves bake, prepare the syrup.

    When loaves are done, cool for 10 minutes on baking racks, then turn them out of their pans and set back on the racks. Place the racks over parchment paper or a baking sheet and brush generously all over (bottoms, tops, and sides) with the Vanilla Syrup. Brush a couple of more times as they cool. Cakes may be wrapped and frozen, if you can resist eating one right away.

    Makes 2 loaves.

    Vanilla Syrup:
    1 3/4 cups sugar
    1 cup water
    2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped

    In a small pan dissolve the sugar in water over medium heat. Add the vanilla beans and stir a little so the seeds and fragrance disperse. Take the pan off the heat.