Vanilla extract is a very popular ingredient in baking, though it’s probably not something you’ve considered adding. Not everyone has tried this before and not everyone enjoys it – so what is it? Why do people use vanilla extract in baking? This article will answer all these questions and more! Read on to find out why, how, what, and when you should use vanilla extract in your baking recipe.
What is Vanilla Extract?
It doesn’t paint the prettiest picture for vanilla extract. It’s an undrinkable brown liquid that can only spoil the taste of a cake or frosting if used too much. It might even seem a little dangerous to use. The truth is that vanilla extract is the best thing that ever happened to baking recipes.
Vanilla extract is an alcoholic liquid brewed from vanilla beans. It’s a popular flavoring that you can use in place of vanilla beans – or, sometimes, in combination with them for a more potent flavor. Vanilla extract is often used in combination with other flavors, like chocolate and peanut butter, to give them more depth and character. You can use it to make your own versions of ice cream and cakes without having to invest in expensive ingredients or complicated processes.
How to Use Vanilla Extract
Do you want to use vanilla extract in your cooking and baking? Great! Here’s how you do it:
Pour a tsp. of vanilla extract into a small glass bowl. Place the bowl in a microwave and warm it on high for 10 seconds. (Make sure the bowl is heatproof first!) Stir the mixture with a spoon to blend well.
Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes before using in your recipe. You can also add other ingredients, like eggs, butter, or peanut butter, before adding the vanilla extract for extra flavor and texture. Mix well before using in your recipe for baking or cooking. The vanilla extract will be ready to use after it cools. Or, you can save it for another use – like making vanilla ice cream!
Vanilla Extract vs. Vanilla Beans
There are actually two different types of vanilla extract you can buy. One is called “Vanilla Extract,” which is made by blending vanilla beans with alcohol. The other is called “Vanilla Beans,” which are only used in cooking and baking recipes.
If you’re reading this article, though, chances are good that you’re interested in buying Vanilla Extract instead of Vanilla Beans. That’s very understandable – it’s cheaper and more convenient to use. There are a lot of great reasons why everyone likes to use vanilla extract in their recipes.
If you’re planning to buy vanilla extract, you should know that it comes in two different forms: imitation and real. The imitation stuff is made from artificial flavors and chemicals, so it doesn’t taste quite as good as the real stuff – but it’s still got a good flavor that any baker will enjoy.
The real stuff costs a little bit more, but the difference in taste is worth the money. You’ll be able to taste the rich flavor of vanilla beans with every bite and every lick.
Imported vanilla extract is another great way to get the real deal at a cheaper price. Imported vanilla extract is made with beans that were grown in tropical climates, like Ecuador and Madagascar. They’re not as potent as the US variety, but they’re more affordable and they taste great.
The best part about using vanilla extract is that it comes in different strengths. The strength comes from how much vanilla bean was used in the brewing process. You can choose to buy extra-strength or regular-strength extracts, depending on your preferences and your recipe’s requirements.
Use regular-strength extracts for lighter recipes like cakes, ice cream, and frosting: these recipes work well with flavors that aren’t too strong or overpowering.
Use extra-strength extracts for recipes that require lots of flavor: like, really really strong flavors. Extra-strength extracts also work great with strong flavors in order to boost their flavor and make them even more delicious!
Why Use Vanilla Extract?
So, you’re thinking about buying some vanilla extract and you don’t know why you would. Is there a reason to buy vanilla extract instead of just using vanilla beans? Yes! There are tons of reasons to use vanilla extract when baking and cooking, so let’s take a look at why we all love it so much.
The Flavor Vanilla Extract Adds to Your Recipes Vanilla is one of the best tasting ingredients you can use in your cooking.
One of the featured products in Molly Yeh’s box this month is Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract made by Nielsen-Massey. As I began brain storming ideas for this post, I asked myself a simple question… why do we use vanilla extract in baking? I never question whether or not it will be an ingredient in my baked goods. I always have it on hand. But why? Does it really make a difference in the taste of the final product? Does the quality differ from brand to brand?
Well, I found that the answer is yes! The role of vanilla in baking is similar to the role of salt in savory dishes. It has the unique ability to heighten and enhance all the other flavor profiles in the recipe. Without vanilla extract, your cakes and cookies would taste bland. If I’m going to the trouble to bake from scratch, it better be worth my time and it should taste good.
Here’s an fun fact….pure vanilla extract is made from the pods or beans of the vanilla vine which is a type of orchid. (It is the only edible fruit bearing member of the orchid family.) Nielsen-Massey sources their vanilla from primary vanilla growing countries – Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti – where the beans are harvested once a year. I assumed there was the additional component of Bourbon in the extract included in the box, but the name actually comes from the geographic reference to the Bourbon Islands – Madagascar, Comoro, Reunion, Seychelles and Mauritius. Like wines, the vanilla from these different countries has it’s own unique flavors and characteristics due to the differences in climate and soil.
Do yourself and your baked goods a favor and steer clear of “imitation” vanilla. Always use the real deal. In addition to pure vanillas, Nielsen-Massey offers a wide range of pure flavor extracts, pastes, powders, sugars and whole beans.
How many extracts should you put in a cake?
I am a firm believer in using all around the same amount of vanilla in my baking recipes, and I usually just measure out one tablespoon. I stay away from using a lot of extract because too much can make a recipe taste artificial. I also don’t want to mess with the structure of my cake, and putting an extra amount into the batter or icing can change how it comes out or doesn’t come out.
My general rule is to 1 teaspoon for every cup of flour that you use because that’s what I found works best for me (here’s a good article on this from King Arthur Flour). This is an easy way to use it in recipes and not worry that you are overdoing it.
I hope this helps with your baking questions. I know a lot of people are worried about putting too much extract in their recipes, but don’t be! Just use what you normally would, and don’t go crazy with the amount of extract you use in recipes. You can always add more if you want to, but once it’s in there, it’s hard to take out again. If a recipe has a good balance of all the flavors, you don’t need to add a ton of extra vanilla extract just because all the other flavors are present.
What happens if you put too much vanilla extract in a recipe?
When you have used too much vanilla extract in a recipe, it will usually turn out to be dry, because the overuse of extract will add not only flavor but also moisture. Vanilla helps with moisture levels in a recipe, so adding too much can dry out a cake or make them very crumbly. It’s also common for the cake to take longer to bake and have other structural problems than it normally does.
How do I use vanilla beans?
As far as how much vanilla bean you should use in your recipes, I like things that are subtle. Assess each recipe and its ingredients before making a decision on how much of the bean to use. If you are making a cake and want it to have a nice, light vanilla flavor, then use one piece of the bean. If you are making pancakes and want it to taste like the best vanilla ice cream, then you could use two or three pieces of the bean. The same principle can be applied to candies, cakes and other recipes that need more intense flavor.
Which extract is best for baking?
I usually use pure vanilla extract when baking because it is the most common, cheapest and easiest to find. However, if you have a recipe that calls for using an extra amount of vanilla extract, I would recommend using a clear imitation extract instead. The extra amount is worth it for the sweetness and flavor boost.
What happens if you use too much vanilla?
There are two ways this can happen. For one, if you overspray while cooking or baking with pure vanilla extract, then your food will taste very strong and can be overpowering. This is why it’s important to determine how much vanilla to use in a recipe by measuring the amount needed before adding more than the specified amount.
How does extracts help in baking?
Vanillas in baking not only add flavor but also moisture. Therefore, there is a good chance that the recipe will turn out to be dry and dense if the vanilla is used excessively. If a recipe calls for one teaspoon of vanilla, try doing your best to use just that amount. If your batter is too wet and it will not rise properly or the cake will collapse before the top is baked, then you can add another teaspoon of extract to make it work.
How much vanilla should I use in my recipes?
If you are using pure vanilla extract when baking, then one teaspoon of extract is usually enough. However, if you are using an imitation extract when making pancakes or a cake, then add as many teaspoons as necessary to achieve the desired flavor.
Is extract a liquid or powder?
Vanilla extract comes in liquid form. It can be made from either alcohol or glycerin. If you buy extracts, be sure to check the ingredients before you buy it. Some extracts contain sugar and it can affect how your cake or cookies taste if you are using sugar as an ingredient in your recipe’s batter or icing. You may want to find one without sugar if you want a strong vanilla flavor without any sweeteners in your dessert.
Vanilla is such a popular ingredient in baking. It adds a rich, beautiful flavor to baked goods that make you want to eat the whole thing up before you have time to savor each and every bite. With all of these options, I know it can be hard to choose which vanilla flavor you should use. Hopefully, this breakdown has helped you narrow down your choices and so that you can enjoy baking with pure extracts, pastes and powders.