Use good quality – and not artificial vanilla.  I love the double strength vanilla extract from Penzey’s spices.  You can order it on-line from  (As well as many other spices and salts).  It is probably better to skip the vanilla if you don’t have the real thing.

To scrape and seed a vanilla bean, place the long bean on a cutting board.  With your paring knife, slice the bean lengthwise – from top to bottom all the way down and through.  Open it up and you will see soft brown inside.  With the back of your knife, scrape the seed gently (while holding the end of the pod) collecting all the goodness from inside.  These are the seeds and they should be on your knife.  The pod contains more flavor and seeds and is often added to marinating liquids or ice creams – and pulled out later.  You can purchase at the grocery or get a bunch from – store  them in an airtight container or they dry out.

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