This month, we are playing with Tonka Beans.
Tonka beans are black and wrinkled with an interior that is smooth and caramel in colour. The fragrance is amazing, with hints of vanilla and almonds. The beans come from the a flowering tree native to Central America and northern South America.
Just a small amount is needed to infuse the bean’s flavour. Using a microplane, just grate the wonderfully scented bean.
I first learned of tonka beans from my friend Cheryl, from Dining Room Empire. Cheryl uses tonka beans constantly – in scones, muffins, jam, chocolate cake, and even chocolate chip cookies. She also puts a whole bean in her home-canned peaches.
I wanted to find a recipe that showcased the tonka beans and their fabulous flavour. I used this shortbread recipe from Dinner with Julie. I made a batch for Sunday brunch with some close friends and the cookies were a hit. If you ever come across these beans, be sure to take a sniff. So delightful!
Mary Oxendale Spensley says
You can get it in Calgary from Silk Road Spices: http://www.silkroadspices.ca/products/tonka-beans
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