Best Vanilla Extract

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phoebe, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    I love Penzeys products, but their "Single Strength Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract" brought too strong of a boozy, almost metallic taste to my brownies. :( Which vanilla extract do you folks like best?
     
  2. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never had an issue with Penzey's Vanilla Extract. It is the one I use, at home, all the time.
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Phoebe, I use their double strength and haven't noticed the problem you mention. I admit I haven't tried it with brownies, but I've used it with chocolate and had no problem. Hmmmm.... :confused:
     
  4. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Maybe the amount is the problem The brownie recipe I used makes 24 two-inch-square brownies and calls for 1T of vanilla (along with 1 cup pecans, 1 1/4 cups cake flour, 1/2 t salt, 3/4t baking powder, 6 oz unsweetened choc, 12 T butter, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 4 eggs--from Cooks Illustrated). Too much vanilla? I don't do sweet-side baking much, so forgive me for being such a doofus. :D
     
  5. metrakay

    metrakay

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    Have you tried vanilla powder (ground beans + dextrose, I think)? You use it measure for measure over extract. It is also good sprinkled on coffee (cafe au lait) or cocoa. It holds up particularly well in baked goods.

    Cook's Vanilla makes one: I purchased a 1.5lb jar from them not too long ago, but their website isn't working today. It is: http://www.cooksvanilla.com/ You can also find it in a lot of grocery stores, in a 4 oz jar.
     
  6. keeperofthegood

    keeperofthegood

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    Hey oh

    Ok, a sideways entry here. IF I use this flavour, I use the artificial.

    My question is, WHY? Why do you need to add it at all? Chocolate is fine without the vanilla. If you want a nutty chocolate, use a walnut extract............

    Ok, I really tend to not like vanilla :D That aside, really, why is it even used outside of a "vanilla" recipe?
     
  7. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Cooks Illustrated recommends McCormick Pure Vanilla which is not available in any of the stores near me.  I picked up Rodelle's Gourmet Vanilla.  Has anyone tried it? I need vanilla for baking
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I use Nielsen-Massey; both the extract and the paste.

    We've discussed this before, but for those who missed it:

    "Pure vanilla" can legally contain vanilla, alcohol, and sweeteners. Quality differences come from 1. the source of the vanilla (i.e., Mexico, Madagascar, Tahiti....), and 2. the percentage of the other legal ingredients. For instance, an extract that is 25% alcohol will be more vanillaie (is that a word?) than one that contains, say, 40%.

    If the label doesn't specify "pure vanilla," read the label, as that might mean there are other ingredients. If so, than it is a quality step down.

    Descending from that, in both quality and flavor, is the artificial, which I don't understand why anyone bothers with, because you can buy pure vanilla extract for the same price.
     
  9. chefguy

    chefguy

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    Penzey's Vanilla Extract is good for me...
     
  10. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Thank you for the information KY Heirloomer.

    Neither Nielsen nor Penzy's is available in my area.  I can order on line if i can't find anything comparable here.

    Are either of you familiar with Rodelle Gourmet Vanilla? It has 35% alcohol. I bought it as a last choice but I haven't used it yet.  I can return it.  I've been using Hunter Organic Pure Vanilla
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  11. missyjean

    missyjean

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    I tried to buy the Neilson.  It is not available in my area.  Also, it is $20 for 8 oz plus shipping.  They have it on Amazon for $13..can I trust it is the real thing?
     
  12. aznninjahitman

    aznninjahitman

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  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    IMO the best commercially made extract is the Mexican extract from Vanilla Saffron Imports, better than Nielson-Massey, Penzeys or anything else I've tried.  Much better priced, too. 

    You can do still better making your own from beans (from the same supplier) -- although you will have to adjust quantities. 

    FWIW, their saffron is also incredibly good quality and incredibly well priced.  It's one of the few exceptions to "you get what you pay for."  What a bargain!

    As to why vanilla makes chocolate taste better...  If I have to explain it, you can't understand.  Just different palates.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    KY, I buy artifical vanilla for the jail I work at due to the much lower alcohol content, but that is a whole different story!!!!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Why's that, Pete? Are the prisoners drinking it? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif

    In a typical recipe you're using a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Let's say it's 35% alcohol, and assume none of it burns off. Further assumption: six portions from the basic recipe.

    In that case you'd be feeding each of them 35% of 1/6th of a teaspoon, or, roughly, 1/18th of a teaspoon.

    Good grief, we could write a new verse to the old WCTU parady.
     
  16. ceeinthekitchen

    ceeinthekitchen

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    In general I use Neilsen Massey, too. My favorite is a Mexican vanilla I bought down in Mexico, though. I'm almost out, though, so thanks BDL for the link!
     
  17. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Thank you for the link.  I just called them. Shipping is only $8-that is reasonable to me. Other places I called were asking more for shipping than the product.

    I think I should start with the 8 oz size which is $19 from them.

    Thank you
     
  18. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Those are unbeatable prices! Now I'm confused.  I never tried anything other than supermarket brands. 

    I need vanilla for banana breads...what should I get?
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    How often do you use vanilla? That's really a key to what you buy.

    If you only use it occasionally, those small bottles at the supermarket are fine. Just make sure you're getting the true gelt.

    If you do a lot of baking, and use mucho vanilla, then I'd mail-order it in larger quantities, using BDL's link---they have top quality products, and their prices cannot be beaten.
     
  20. missyjean

    missyjean

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    I've only been baking a few months but people seem to think I'm doing pretty well at it which makes me want to get even better so I am looking for the best ingredients I can find.

    I am concentrating on quick breads/tea loaves right now

    I make about 2 loaves a week but want the best ingrredients