Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Props to Vanilla

Some things in life are sadly underappreciated. Bowls, for instance. Never, ever have I heard anyone gush, "Man...bowls...that was such a good idea!" or "That's the best thing since bowls!" Huh.

Also, vanilla.

Vanilla gets a raw deal with the whole "just vanilla" and "plain old vanilla" thing. It's sort of gotten the reputation for being more the absence of other flavor(s) than a flavor itself, I think. Which is unfortunate.

Now, I realize I may sound just a taaaad hypocritical right now. Chocoholism and all. So I'd like to publicly acknowledge my usual avoidance-of-things-merely-vanilla on this blog and the fact that chocolate (especially in Reese's cup form) gets a lot more love around here. To somewhat even things up, I'd like to devote this post to showing you how stinking good vanilla alone can be. (Yes, this was also motivated by the fact that I had an $8 jar of vanilla beans sitting in the pantry needing to be used. Whatever.)

So. This recipe is modified from this site. And it is soooo good. Here you go:

Vanilla Bean Loaf with Lemon Glaze

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped, pod discarded
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 large eggs, 2 egg whites
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or you could use orange juice, or just milk, if you want)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, applesauce, eggs, egg whites, vanilla beans, and vanilla. When well blended, gently whisk in dry ingredients, then oil. Batter will be thick and shiny.

Spoon into pan. Bake about 45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over top and let set before serving.


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