Get the best out of your saffron
Here in Sweden saffron and Christmas go hand in hand. When the holiday season starts people fill their cupboards with saffron and start baking buns, cookies and whatever possible with saffron in.
As an Italian this whole world was really weird at first. Grown up in the north of Italy, for me saffron associated with risotto, so my first bite of a saffron bun was not exactly love at first bite.. 13 years down the road I actually have to admit that I am one of those looking for saffron before I check out from the store when December comes.
Saffron is easy to find in powder form in small bags (0,5 grams each in Sweden), and just like all spices not all saffron tastes the same. Last year I decided to give it a try and buy threads instead, and the flavour was so much better. Harder to use though compared to powder, until @brinkenbakar blew my mind by introducing to me saffron extract. Minimal effort, only 2 ingredients (more than the saffron itself), and you get yourself a bottle of liquid gold in your fridge that is ready to use at any time. Not only it gets incorporated so much easier in any recipe, the alcohol in the extract makes the saffron both stronger in colour and in flavour, so it's really not much to discuss here.. The moment you try this I promise you won't go back to that boring small bag of powdered saffron ever again.. The recipe is originally by @brinkenbakar, so all credits to her for this brilliant idea.
1 tsp of granulated sugar
(min) 1 g saffron threads
1 tbsp alcohol for each gram of saffron
Add the sugar in a mortar together with as much saffron as you want to use, and use the pestle to smash the saffron threads until they are finely grounded. The sugar is only there to facilitate the grounding process, so one teaspoon is more than enough.
Pour the saffron and sugar into a small clean airtight bottle or container, add one tablespoon of alcohol of your choice (I used vodka, but I've read cognac is a very good match with saffron) and shake it a bit. Let it stand in the fridge for at least 24 hours before you start using it in your recipes.
When you bake, simply replace the saffron in the recipe with saffron extract with the conversion 1 tbsp of saffron extract = 1 gram saffron.