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 the 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. Enjoy sweet friends.
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 *See Notes
- 1 vanilla bean pod; seeds scraped plus an extra 1/4 tsp vanilla bean seeds & pod
- slotted spoon to catch milk solids( with holes in it)
- 1 bowl or jar to skim milk solids
- 2 pots
- 1 wide mouth, heat resistant, sterilized jar ( a mason jar works well)
- canning funnel
*Notes: Use the best quality organic butter for this recipe. You will taste the difference. I prefer to use unsalted butter for consistency and taste. Salted butter releases more water which can produce more foam and it may result in a different consistency and/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.
To make the ghee:
- Melt butter over low heat in a heavy bottom 3 1/2 quart heavy bottom pot. As the butter gently simmers, use a small spoon to skim the foam that rises to the surface of the pot. Set aside the solids in a small bowl or jar for later use. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator.
- Some of the foam, along with the remaining solids will drop to the bottom of the liquid. 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, the butter will be golden and clear with most of the solids at the bottom of the pot. Turn off heat. Let cool for a bit.
- Set a fine meshed strainer over another heat resistant pot, line the strainer with cheesecloth. Carefully, pour the ghee through the strainer, catching any milk solids into the strainer. I strain the liquid twice to get a clear consistency.
- Set a canning funnel onto a clean, sterilized jar and pour the ghee into it. I clean/sterilize my jar in the dishwasher. Use a silicone scraper to scrape remaining liquid into the jar. Let cool. I refrigerate my ghee overnight to solidify. After it is solid, I leave it out at room temperature-* see below
To make the vanilla bean infused ghee:
- Add vanilla bean seeds and pod into the strained ghee. Let cool in pot for 20 minutes. 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 the bottom up to ensure the vanilla bean seeds are evenly incorporated. It will solidify as it cools.
- Ghee can sit out on your counter indefinitely. I don’t refrigerate my ghee and neither does my mom although you can store in the refrigerator. When ready to use, let sit out at room temperature. The ghee should be spreadable.