A few months ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed. Jessie from Sporks and Foons (I love the name) posted a picture of her delicious waffles. In her caption she mentioned that the waffles were topped with vanilla bean ghee.
Ghee has been around in my family for a very long time. My mom made it throughout my childhood as did her own mom, my grandmother and so on. But vanilla bean ghee!? I’ve never heard of it until I scrolled across Jessie’s lovely feed. I became obsessed. I think I may have dreamt about the taste. I couldn’t get my mind off it for days.
So later that week, I went to work figuring out how to make it. You may think making ghee is difficult but really it is one of the easiest things to make. Plus, it is so much cheaper to make at home than store bought.
Ghee is basically butter that is skimmed of its milk solids as it melts and simmers in a pot. Once the milk solids are skimmed, the remaining solids will drop to the bottom of the pan. The golden liquid is strained, cooled and you are ready to eat your ghee.
If you’ve never made ghee, I’ve included instructions on how to make it with and without the vanilla infusion.
To make vanilla bean ghee, I infused the vanilla bean seeds and pod into the ghee. Let it sit for about two hours. Remove the pod and stir the vanilla bean seeds to fully incorporate since most of the seeds will drop to the bottom of the jar.
The result is lovely- beautiful golden clarified butter with a scent that is intoxicating, nutty and aromatic, sweetened with the scent of vanilla. The skimmed solids can be refrigerated and used separately on popcorn or as a finishing oil in Indian food.
My favorite part of this ghee are the tiny black vanilla bean seeds dispersed throughout this little jar of liquid gold.
Use ghee on anything sweet such as slathering on muffins. Top a generous coating on pancakes and waffles. Add a scoop to your morning oatmeal or use it instead of butter and bake it into a fruit crumble.
It may be an extra step to make this ghee but I promise you won’t regret it. It is so worth the taste. It makes a great DIY gift also.
Vanilla Bean Ghee
Free from: nuts, sesame, gluten, egg and soy
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, organic, cubed.
- 1 vanilla bean pod; seeds scraped plus an extra 1/4 teaspoon-1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean seeds & pod( depending on preference)
- slotted spoon to catch milk solids (with holes in it)
- 1 bowl or jar to skim milk solids
- 1 heavy bottom pot
- 1 wide mouth, heat resistant, sterilized jar ( a mason jar works well)
- canning funnel
To make ghee:
- Melt butter over low heat in a heavy bottom 3 1/2 quart heavy bottom pot. As butter gently comes to a simmer, use a small spoon to skim foam periodically as it rises to surface of pot. Set aside solids in a small bowl or jar for later use. Once cooled, store in refrigerator.
- The remaining foam, along with solids will drop to bottom of pot. Do not walk away during the process. You will end up with a little more than half of what you started with, depending on how much water your butter contains.
- After about 25-30 minutes, butter will be golden and clear with most of solids at bottom of pot. Turn off heat. Let cool for another 20 minutes.
- Set a canning funnel over another heat resistant jar. If you don’t have a canning funnel that’s ok just be careful when you pour the ghee. ( I use a clean, sterilized mason jar). On top of canning funnel, use a fine meshed strainer and carefully, pour ghee through strainer into jar; milk solids will catch into strainer. You can strain ghee twice to get a clear consistency but I don’t bother as solids will keep dropping to bottom.
- Let cool without lid on. I refrigerate my ghee overnight to solidify. After it becomes solid, leave it out at room temperature-* see below
To make vanilla bean infused ghee:
- Follow above. Add vanilla bean seeds and pod into ghee after turning off heat. Let cool for twenty minutes in pot. Transfer contents with pod to mason jar and let infuse for another 1-2 hours. The longer it sits, the better the infusion. Take out pod. Stir contents from bottom up to ensure the vanilla bean seeds are evenly incorporated. It will solidify as it cools. Transfer to refrigerator and leave out on counter once cool.
- Use the best quality organic butter for this recipe. I prefer to use unsalted butter for consistency and taste. I’ve read that salted butter releases more water which may alter consistency or cooking time.
- Vanilla bean ghee is not meant to be sweet. It is meant to have a hint of vanilla flavor. The nutty combination mixed with vanilla makes a great topping for any sweet item.
- Ghee can sit out on your counter indefinitely. I don’t refrigerate my ghee and neither does my mom although you can store in refrigerator. When ready to use, let sit out at room temperature. Ghee should be spreadable.