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your favorite brand of vanilla extract?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I have been using Neilson Massey Madagascar pure vanilla extract for years but the price has skyrocketed recently. I just found out today that Trader Joe's which was the LAST place I had been able to find it at a reasonable price here in Portland, OR ($4.59 for 4 oz.) will no longer be carrying it. They are instead just using their house labeled vanilla extract which is a blend of Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla beans. I bought a bottle and tried it tonight but the jury is still out on whether I like it. What do you use? Where do you buy it? (mail order source or local place etc.) Thanks. Alison
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post #2 of 45
My favorite: Nelson Massey' vanilla bean paste.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #3 of 45
I heard from Penzeys that the vanilla crop took a severe beating in a tropical storm....vanilla shot up 50% within the past month.
I used to use LeRuths, now use Penzeys
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post #4 of 45
This thread gives me the opportunity of asking a question: I have noticed that you Americans seem to use only this "Vanilla extract" to get a vanilla flavour. Since I don't know it as it's probably not suitable here for home use (we can get either the whole Vanilla bean or the artificial Vanillin powder) I'd like to know if you also use the Vanilla bean and what are the pros of using the extract (of course apart from the fact you spare time!)

Thanks,

Pongi
post #5 of 45
Er, well, when I go to the gourmet shop, a single extra fancy vanilla bean in the cute little test tube is $12.99. A bottle of their very best Madagascar vanilla (100 mL, I think) is $22. A bottle of their not-quite-so-good but quite good enough for me vanilla is, like the bean, $12.99. A giant-sized bottle of supermarket vanilla is something like five bucks, and works fine when tossing together a quick square or cookie or whatever.

Even though I do recycle my beans by putting any unused, dried-off bits in sugar and making vanilla sugar, the math is pretty convincing. Real vanilla beans are reserved for extra-special efforts at my house.

I suppose professionals, who can get that sort of thing wholesale, aren't in quite such dire straits, but still. Yer average customer is NOT going to glare at the cheesecake and yell out, "This is not genuine Ta-HI-tian vanilla!"
post #6 of 45
I currently use Penzey's.

Pongi: I've never used the vanillin powder, but I do use vanilla beans. I usually use the beans for syrups, custards and other stuff where the flavour of the bean is infused into some sort of liquid base. I use the extract for cakes, cookies and other baked goods where the vanilla is more of a flavour enhancer rather than the dominant flavour.
post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
I LOVE that vanilla bean paste but I can't use it in everything since I actually don't want the flecks to show in some of my cheesecake flavors. I will try Penzeys- never used that before-thanks!
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post #8 of 45

re-cycle the beans!

because beans are soooo expencive, i buy them by the 1/2 pound and after use i toss them into the extract bottle. in the bottle is virginia dare or another basic vanilla that is much improved with the addition of the bean.

i have made extract of my own with vodka and vanilla bean with great results!

used to love dreidopple vanilla bean powder and vanilla paste!
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post #9 of 45
A plump vanilla bean from Penzey's was $2.19.....guess the glass tube costs $10.80.
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post #10 of 45
The neilson Massey paste is great for uncooked desserts, or where you'd want to see the specks, but it would be a waste to bake with it. I do what mbrown does: Virginia Dare with fresh bean pods to make the flavor a bit more vivid.

I think it was Paris Gourmet who carries a nice paste, like the Dreidopple, in a big tub. Great stuff--not better or worse than extract; just different, for different applications.
post #11 of 45
m brown, when you made your own extract in vodka, did you find that the brand, quality (i.e. price) level made any difference? Does it make any difference what the vodka is made from?

Also, I've read somewhere that when you are baking with it, that so much of the subtlety is lost that it isn't worth while using "the best." (It may have been Cook's Ill)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #12 of 45

BEANS IN EVERCLEAR

Has anyone tried dropping the (used) bean into EVERCLEAR, you know, 190 proof alcohol as opposed to vodka? If so, pls describe your results.

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post #13 of 45
koko,
Down here we drop it into our mescal, it sort of shrivels a little and then streches out and dies( WAIT! I'm sorry, thats the worm, not the vanilla bean).
Actually we have some everclear in the shop(don't know why?,probably dishwasher related) I'll pop some husks in tomorrow and report back in a few days.

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post #14 of 45
Panini:

Everclear is used in some optics labs to clean high quality optics because it leaves absolutely no residue on the lens' surface.

Back to vanilla bean: unheated extraction may take months to achieve full flavor.

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

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post #15 of 45

I use it too...

Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Bourbon, Mexican and Tahitian vanilla extracts, either liquid form, paste, powder and whole vanilla beans are my favorite.
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #16 of 45
Got lots of Everclear. I paint on cakes with it.
I'll try to stick some beans in as well.
Vanilla Bean Paste- Neilson Massey
post #17 of 45
Spoons:

Tell us about painting cakes with everclear. Sometimes I use it to "paint windows"!

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-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

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post #18 of 45
Massys is good stuff, as is Penzlys..

To answer Pongi's question, Yes..we Americans use a great deal of Vanilla beans. To me it is one of Mother natures most precuios gifts.

I like to use my spent pods in sugar to make vanilla sugar.

I love vanilla with foie gras as well, I made a vanilla/sautern foie gras for some cheftalk friends last year and they where pretty pleased (some never had it before)

Also, try soaking your spent pods with some cherry wood and smoke some salmon or quails with it. It will blow you away
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post #19 of 45
We use only fresh vanilla pods, I guess what you are referring to as bean, ours come from the french Island Bourbon.
Its taste is much better then any vanilla extracts, but I don't know what kind of extracts I have used before as it was a very long time ago.
It is expensive, but not $12 per bean thats robbery!
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post #20 of 45
CC:

Since you like the vanilla/sauterne combination may I suggest substituting a good quality berenauslese for the sauterne? Just the other day I made a lemon sauce using a berenauslese; and, its sweetness and acid highlighted the lemon flavor immensely. Exquisite.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #21 of 45
KoKo:

What did you make the sauce for?

When I cook with a sautern, i'm not talking d'Yquem :) lol...I use a nice mid range one.

I remember a while ago us discussing ice wines, TBA's and BA's..the sauce you made must have been sublime using a BA ;)

(sorry for the side track folks :))
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post #22 of 45
Be careful with the Everclear. Taste first.

We use Everclear around here for some of my husband's home-made medicinal herbal preparations, and there are some things he WON'T use it for, because the alcohol is apparently so powerful as to extract undesirable compounds from the herbs along with the ones one wants.
post #23 of 45
CC:

The sauce was mad for pan fried trout. It included shallots, lemon juice, cream, a good pinch of turmeric. However, the sauce tasted a bit overpowering for such a delicate fish and think that it may better compliment chicken. In other words trout may require a milder sauce.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #24 of 45
WOW!!!

Turmiric and BA!!!Now that's one I never thought about!!!

Hey KoKo: may I suggest making some chic pea flour with toasted sesame seeds, coating boneless, pounded leg of lamb and sauteeing this and serving your sauce (with some fresh mint) with the lamb and cous cous?

Trout begs for uncomplicated adornments
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post #25 of 45
I used the turmeric mainly for color/appearance.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #26 of 45

Recycling of bean pods...

You can grind them to a powder consistency. :p
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #27 of 45
fully dried beans in the food processor with granulated sugar, sifted, = groovy vanilla sugar.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #28 of 45
I use Penzey's or Cook's. Cook's puts out a cookie vanilla and also a tahitian vanilla.

My favorite vanilla is Mexican. Who ever is headed south has orders to stop at a pharmacy and bring back a bottle or two.

Penzey's beans are delightful. They are flexible and plump. NOt like some of the shrunken excuses that you see in stores........
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Try not to let your mind wander..
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post #29 of 45
Kokopuffs,
Paint Windows?
I just dilute some petal dust, paste colors and paint away. Love the way Everclear evaporates quickly.
Just talked with my sister who lives in Colorado.
You guys got some heavy fires going.
post #30 of 45
What is vanilla paste? Is it the seeds from a vanilla bean??
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