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Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques Hardcover – Illustrated, 6 Nov 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books (6 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159474596X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594745966
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 737,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Pure Vanilla is an attractive volume full of things that you will want to prepare right away. There are plenty of recipes that you will adapt and make your own. This is a gift-quality cookbook that will be enjoyed by any baker, whether novice or confident. --MostlyFood, September, 2012----As well as a wide range of recipes covering everything from breakfast to evening cocktails, this book covers the history and production of vanilla, and looks at the characteristics of vanilla pods grown in various regions around the world. It was fascinating reading and sent me to the kitchen to discover the origins of my vanilla products. My pods, produced by Ndali, come from Uganda, so have a 'sweet, winey, raisinlike fragrance and flavour ..... perfect for rich desserts, especially ones containing chocolate' (so that's OK then!). The organic vanilla bean paste was from an Australian company, so may have been produced in Papua New Guinea from Tahitian Vanilla. The bottle of vanilla extract, from one of the leading brands, doesn't state the origins of the beans at all. Reading about how difficult it is to produce a vanilla bean, and how long the subsequent processing takes, makes it easier to understand why vanilla is one of the most expensive spices on the market, second only to saffron. After the comprehensive introduction to all aspects of vanilla we come to the recipes. They are not all illustrated, which is always a disappointment, but those that are have beautiful photographs by Leigh Beisch. It can't have been easy to photograph food which is mostly in shades of white, but Leigh has produced some stunning photographs which make all the dishes look very appetising. In many of the recipes, Shauna uses more than one form of vanilla to produce layers of flavour which are not in competition with other strong flavours. This will probably surprise most cooks, who tend to use vanilla as a background note to other flavours and not as the main feature. As the author is American, the recipes are written in cup measurements, which can be off putting to UK cooks, although cup measures are widely available. I was interested to see that white chocolate is often used to add a vanilla flavour, as I've often said that this is about the only real use for white chocolate! Most of the recipes are for sweet dishes, although some savoury uses for vanilla are mentioned, including the vanilla salt you can see in my photographs. I intend to use it to top some salted vanilla chip oatmeal cookies, but it can be used to season meat, vegetables or salads too. It's going to take a week for my vanilla salt (a mix of the seeds(caviar) of half a vanilla pod with half a cup of sea salt) to mature, so I'll be writing a review of that recipe separately! I was surprised that it was initially quite difficult to actually find recipes which I wanted to make straight away. I wasn't really interested in either breakfast foods (although many could double as desserts), drinks or candies and confections which ruled out three of the six recipe chapters. In the other chapters, covering cakes and pies, cookies and bars, and custards and creams, some of the recipes seemed quite complicated, expensive (16 egg whites!) or used ingredients not easily obtained in the UK (marshmallow creme!). Some of the recipes just weren't suitable for the sort of cooking I'm doing at the moment, needing the right occasion to serve them up to a crowd. However, there are enough recipes which I would like to make, when the time is right, to keep me interested in the book, and any cook past the beginnners stage would find some of the more difficult recipes appealing and challenging. All in all, this is a book which would be a good addition to any cook's library and which challenges our perception that vanilla is synonymous with plain and ordinary! - -- -- -- --Mainlybaking, October, 2012

gives the UK some wonderful snacks and meals that they may not normally bake. One favourite example is the twinkie bundt cake which is a giant sized cream filled moist sponge. Biscuits include Gramma's heirloom vanilla sugar cookies from an old family recipe and biscotti which are perfect with a cup of coffee. --Recipebookreviews, Feb, 2012

This is the one-stop cookbook and practical reference book on vanilla --Four Shires magazine, December, 2012 …a wide range of tempting recipes for cakes, cookies, confections, and custards, all with the delicious vanilla flavour -- --Cakes & Sugercraft, Feb, 2013

About the Author

Shauna Sever is the author of Marshmallow Madness! (Quirk, 2011). She writes the popular dessert blog Piece of Cake and is a host and reporter for food-related television, including The Best of the Bay for KRON4 in San Francisco. Her work has been published in Huffington Post Food, Working Mother, Food52, and more. She also runs Bake Sale Bakery, a dessert catering business in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

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By K. Platt TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover
If someone had asked me to write a book of vanilla recipes, I would have been hard pushed. Although I love vanilla, I think of it as something you put in a Victoria sponge or vanilla ice cream. So hats off to Shauna, for she has pulled this off extremely well. Vanilla is a taste sensation. This book gives a cheat sheet (love this), fantastic photography, clean, simple layout and great facts about vanilla including a brief history, all its forms, tasting notes, faq's and then the recipes. Discover how to make your own vanilla extract and be elevated to domestic goddess status in the process. You'll find recipes for breakfasts, cakes and pies, cookies and bars, candies and confectionery, custards and creams and finally drinks. Well that has everything covered. I love the idea of vanilla spice oatmeal to start the day. Simply cannot wait to make Vanilla Cloud Cake not to mention Twinkie Bundt Cake and Vanilla Cream Pie. Vanilla Sugar Puffs look too good to miss out on, as do the Vanilla Creme Cookies. Must make some Golden Pear Vanilla Jam too. Have to agree with Shauna, a Vanilla party sounds like a great idea. This review first appeared on welovefinefoods website
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Format: Hardcover
The recipes look really yummy can't wait to get started, and the photos are very good.
Didn't realize that there's so much you can do with vanilla.:-)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d0ee93c) out of 5 stars 72 reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adf245c) out of 5 stars Pure Vanilla. Pure Inspiration 23 Oct. 2012
By Culinary_Cam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I will never underestimate the magic of vanilla again. We use the term 'vanilla' derogatorily, to mean plain, boring, ordinary. How completely misguided! Having spent the last week scraping the caviar out of the beans, infusing syrups, steeping pods, and immersing vanilla in salts and sugars, I see vanilla for the complex, exotic, and intriguing ingredient that it is. And, as Shauna writes, "It's high time to catapult this delicious ingredient into the superstar stratosphere where she so deserves to be!"

Before launching into her original recipes, Shauna encapsulates an almost 400-year history of the vanilla bean into nine points, taking the reader from the Aztecs conquering the Totonac Indians of Mexico in 1519 to Thomas Jefferson, then the U.S. ambassador to France, carrying a bundle of beans home to Monticello in 1789. In 1841 the 12-year-old son of a slave devised a way of hand-pollinating vanilla orchids; his process is still employed today.

She details the various forms of vanilla - yes, you can get it in more than just beans and extracts - provides tasting notes, and fields FAQs: Why is vanilla so expensive? How do I store vanilla? And what is French vanilla?

Her writing is accessible, her directions clear, and her recipes inspiring. I find this book to be pure inspiration. I'm looking forward to trying her Tangy Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta and will certainly be toasting with a Vanilla Martini at some time in the near future.

If you want to learn more about vanilla and get inspired in the kitchen, check out Shauna Sever's Pure Vanilla. It's truly delicious!
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adf5a14) out of 5 stars Vanilla Heaven 16 Oct. 2012
By P. Woodland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that celebrates chocolate's alter-ego. As I have grown older I have come to appreciate the taste of vanilla. Good vanilla. In fact, I keep vanilla beans in my freezer so I always have them on hand. I make my own vanilla extract because it's cheaper and far, far better than the stuff you buy in the store. The only thing this book used that I didn't have on hand was vanilla paste and you can bet your last bean that I'm going to buy some the next time I place my big flour order. I am very intrigued...

For bakers that don't have a ready supply of beans on hand there is a conversion chart so you can still indulge in the delicious recipes using pure vanilla extract which is readily available in stores. Please, PLEASE use PURE extract. The artificial stuff will just ruin a good recipe and when your treat is all about the vanilla you want the flavor to be true. It is worth the money to buy as good as you can afford so that your baked goods sing with real vanilla flavor.

The book is broken down into sensible chapters with recipes therein using all of the vanilla products. Ms. Sever first explains vanilla, its origins and the reasonings behind using each vanilla enhancement. The recipes are well thought out and easy to follow. I can see myself turning to this book over and over again for baked goods to complement chocolate offerings on dessert buffets. It's a great book to add to a baker's cookbook library.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adf2fc0) out of 5 stars Pure Yum!! 19 Mar. 2013
By Austen Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Twinkie Bundt Cake is the only reason you need to buy this book until you try Vanilla Cloud Cake and Triple Vanilla Pound Cake, Big soft frosted vanilla Sugar Cookies, salted vanilla chip cookies.Okay so you get the picture; I am working my way through the baking chapters and I haven't found a thing to complain about. The recipes are easy to reproduce and the results are flawless. This is a well writen and informative source on everything you ever wanted to know about vanilla.
Thank you Matt from Baked Bakery for the recommendation.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adf7c00) out of 5 stars Sorry to disagree, but...... 2 Nov. 2014
By djp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As everyone can see, I purchased this book ("verified Purchase"), and while I see that it does not seem to be a very popular opinion, I was unimpressed with it. For me personally, I buy a cookbook for recipes ONLY. I'm an avid reader but I don't buy cookbooks for their literary value or how cute the pictures are or how wonderful or interesting the author is or how fabulous the recipes look (a large number of the positive reviews seem to focus on these things). I buy them solely and exclusively for the quality of the recipes. This is just me and what I like (although I believe im not alone in this regard). I tried three different and varied recipes from this book. It is not, as cook books go, a large book, so I believe that three recipes would clearly give me an idea if the recipes met my taste. I found all three recipes to be on the bland side, one of the three had an unusual texture and none were rich in flavor or even flavorful. For me (and this is just me) vanilla alone simply doesn't carry the flavor in these recipe's. I must admit though that I have had a few vanilla-alone baked goods in my life that were outstanding, however, the three items in this book I tried did not replicate those experiences. Another reason I purchased this book because of all the positive reviews but frankly the recipes don't taste half as good as the pictures would lead you to believe. This is a wonderful coffee table book, but if your looking for outstanding vanilla recipes ...look elsewhere. For those who disagree.... enjoy the book and happy baking.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9adf59a8) out of 5 stars Giving vanilla its due! 21 Dec. 2013
By Hello Happy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I’ve always felt a bit bad for vanilla. Just because it plays well with other flavors doesn’t mean it doesn’t have complexity in and of itself. Pure Vanilla shines the spotlight on it with recipes from the simple Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding to the more challenging Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts. I was most tempted by her Vanilla Cloud Cake, and it turned out as light and dreamy as its name implies. The book also explains everything you need to know about vanilla, including information on different varieties, the history of the spice, and even how-tos on making vanilla extract and other things you never knew could be homemade. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with vanilla, I think that Pure Vanilla is the best cookbook for the job.
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