.Discover all there is to know about vanilla powder, the supercharged flavour ingredient your baked products have always desired. Fresh vanilla beans are a wonderful luxury in the pastry kitchen and should be used whenever possible over bottled extract. Nonetheless, they may be rather costly and time-consuming to deal with. As a skilled baker, I find the thought of using fresh vanilla beans in any baked dish ridiculous. This is why vanilla products are so convenient and, in many circumstances, superior than raw beans. Vanilla flavoring comes in three forms: extract, paste, and powder. You’ve definitely heard of vanilla extract and vanilla paste, but what exactly is vanilla powder? More importantly, how do you intend to use it? Let’s dissect it.
Vanilla extract uses alcohol as a solvent to pull the aromas out of vanilla beans and varies widely in strength and quality. Vanilla paste is typically made out of vanilla bean extract, water, and sometimes glycerin. It has a stronger taste and adds lovely vanilla speckles to your baked products. It also varies in quality, but Nielsen-Massey is an excellent brand to use.
Vanilla powder is pure, unadulterated vanilla bean, and lends so much flavor to anything you’re baking. Since extracts use alcohol as carriers for the aroma, most of the high heat of the baking process evaporates the alcohol (and the flavor along with it). Vanilla powder can withstand the intense heat of the oven. It also does not add extra liquid to a dish, which may throw off a properly balanced ratio in certain circumstances.
There are two kinds of powder on the market right now. The first is a whitish-beige material that contains vanilla-infused maltodextrin, dextrose, or finely crushed sucrose. This product is very popular in France as well as Mexico. It’s vanilla sugar, and it may be used in recipes in place of sugar (or mixed into your morning coffee). But the ultimate reward is pure powdered dried vanilla beans. In addition to the seeds, the vanilla pod itself has a strong taste and scent. The pods are gently dehydrated before being finely ground. This black powder is pricy — over $15 to $20 per ounce — but a little goes a long way, and it delivers the most vanilla flavor punch.
Pure vanilla powder should be accessible in any gourmet shop, with just one component listed: “finely crushed vanilla beans.” If you go through a lot of fresh beans, though, I would consider cooking your own. Keep the scraped pods and dry them in a low oven or dehydrator before grinding them in a coffee grinder. Even if you’ve have already infused the pod into dairy, you can rinse it off in water and dry it out and it will still have a ton of flavor. It’s always a good idea to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to such a pricey item.
In terms of applications, you may use it excessively in buttercreams without disrupting the emulsion. Make a butterscotch sauce with rum, brown sugar, and butter that will haunt your dreams. Mix with granulated sugar and cover churros, doughnuts, or other fried things. When combined with sea salt, it creates a flavorful salt that is as at home on chocolate chip cookies as it is on poached lobster. My current favorite way to use it is a bastardization of Christina Tosi’s legendary corn cookie made with masa harina. Vanilla and corn are a marriage made in heaven, and these cookies are flavor bombs in disguise. Before baking, I roll the dough balls in the aforementioned vanilla sugar for a take on snickerdoodles we call masa-doodles.