Monday, July 18, 2011

Easy to Make Snacks Perfect for Camping Trips

Summer means several things: sunshine, beaches, carnivals and camping. Nearly 13 million people go camping every year in the U.S. alone, with the number rising 6 percent in 2010.

Families stake out for days, even weeks, in our country’s beautiful national and state parks every summer. With the heat and exhausting travel, snacks often need to be healthy, transportable and flavorful.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas’ Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste provides extra flavor to a variety of summer foods. Adding a tablespoon to milkshakes, fruit, whipped cream, frostings or honey makes for a desirable seasonal treat.

“The flavor from the Vanilla Bean Paste is sweet, creamy and mellow. It also includes the seeds of the vanilla pod, giving it an upscale look usually found in vanilla bean ice creams and organic vanilla frostings,” said Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

The Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste was also recently named a 2011 National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. sofi™ Gold Award winner, making it a great product for experimenting with summer flavors.

The camping snacks below combine Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste with classic summer favorites that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike - whether it’s on the hiking trail or around the campfire.

With easy preparation and storage, Vanilla Caramel Corn Crunch is an ideal snack for a night under the stars.

Vanilla Caramel Corn Crunch
12 ounces air-popped popcorn or 4 (3-ounce) bags
natural microwave popcorn
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar
Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Pop the popcorn, discarding any un-popped kernels. Arrange the popcorn evenly in a large roasting pan. Place in the oven.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla paste and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly. Boil for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly; do not burn. Stir in the baking soda and cream of tartar, which will cause the sugar mixture to rise. Pour over the warm popcorn, stirring until coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Variation: For added flavor, coarsely chop 1 cup of your favorite nuts and add to the popcorn before pouring the caramel mixture over the popcorn.

Makes about 20 cups

The Gourmet Blueberry Vanilla Granola combines a variety of rich fruits, nuts and Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. It’s a perfect match for yogurt or a great snack when exploring the trail.

Gourmet Blueberry Vanilla Granola
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or nuts of choice
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup gourmet blueberry syrup
1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon
Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the oats, wheat germ, coconut and pecans in a large bowl and toss to combine. Whisk the brown sugar, canola oil, maple syrup, blueberry syrup, vanilla paste, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour the hot granola onto a large baking sheet and let stand until cool. Stir in the cranberries, dates and raisins. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 10 cups

If your family is backyard camping or traveling cross-country, these snacks make it easy to focus on the beauty of nature.

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas recently introduced a line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

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