I have a recipe that calls for a real vanilla bean and have no idea where to find one. Any suggestions? TIA!
I've gotten vanilla beans from Amazon, from JR Mushroom. I think it's like $8.00 for 7 beans with free shipping. I've been happy with the beans. If you don't have time to wait on shipping they usually have them in the grocery store, in the spice section. $10.00 for one, ugly dried up bean, at least at my store. Hopefully you can wait a few days on shipping
Cost-Co carries Rodelle Vanilla pods. Here is part of a review on them from Chowhound:
I have been quite impressed with the quality of Rodelle vanilla beans. They are packaged as "Bourbon Madagascar" beans. The pods are thick, moist, supple, long & heavily scented. I still have a couple pods left from the batch I purchased last year from Costco and they are still supple (I've kept them in their glass bottle with the top twisted tight). They match the quality of the beans I was given by my sister who vacationed in Tahiti years back.
I've used the beans for creme brulee, rolled sugar cookies, delicate tuiles, frosting & pastry creme to name a few. I also either throw the spent pods into my sugar cannister where it does great things scenting it (though it does cause the sugar to clump a bit till it dries out, but I don't mind). Or, I bend the empty pods in half and shove them into my bulk & small vanilla extract bottles and whenever I need a teaspoon of extract I give the bottle a shake and I can see the tiny seeds in my measuring spoons.