In case you’re a frequent home baker, it’s probably a good idea to stock up on vanilla bean powder in your cupboard. Crushed vanilla, which is also known as vanilla powder, is made out of entire vanilla beans that have been dried and ground into a powder. Although the item may seem difficult to come by at first, with a little skill and imagination, it might be precisely what you’re looking for to bring warmth and flavour to your baked goods and sweets.
What is the difference between ground vanilla and vanilla extract?
Medium — and, as a result, how their tastes integrate into a dish — is the primary difference between the two components. Vanilla extract is prepared by soaking vanilla beans in a medium of clear alcohol for an extended period of time. This infuses the alcohol with the taste of vanilla, leading to the production of vanilla extract. Furthermore, although the liquid form of the extract makes it simple to include in recipes, it also increases the likelihood of taste loss. What is the explanation behind this? Alcohol evaporates at high temperatures, such as those used in baking, according to Robert Norman, a vanilla expert at the chocolate and vanilla firm Beyond Good in New York City. As a result, part of the vanilla flavour will be lost during the baking process. Vanilla bean powder, on the other hand, is not transported in a medium container. The component (and, thus, the taste) is not dependent on the presence of a liquid such as alcohol since it is nothing more than powdered vanilla beans.
When Should Vanilla Bean Powder Be Used?
Because vanilla bean powder is not transported in a liquid that readily evaporates, it is well suited for use in high-heat applications. “When you use pure ground vanilla in your cooking or baking, you don’t have to worry about flavour loss [due to heat and evaporation],” Norman adds. In the case of a dairy (or dairy replacement) component such as an ice cream foundation, pudding, or custard, heat will infuse the dairy with vanilla’s flavour compounds rather than causing them to evaporate as they would with other ingredients. “When you use vanilla bean powder in a cake batter or cookie dough, the vanilla flavour is integrated throughout the batter or cookie dough,” explains Norman, “in the same way that any other ground spice would be.”
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Vanilla bean powder is also a good choice if you want to draw attention to a component in a dish aesthetically. According to Sandra Palmer, chef-instructor of pastry and baking arts at the Institute of Culinary Education, this method will often present itself in the form of toppings or coatings, such as doughnuts tossed with a sugar and vanilla powder combination. When preparing vanilla bean marshmallows or vanilla bean ice cream, adding ground vanilla will visually showcase the taste and work that went into producing the dish, according to her. People who consume the dessert will be able to “taste with their eyes” and anticipate how delicious the flavour will be as a result of the technique.
Palmer adds that vanilla powder may also be used to help smooth out the tastes of other spices in a spice blend. As she explains, “it may serve as a wonderful background note, offsetting stronger ingredients like ginger and cardamom.” For those who merely wish to enhance the vanilla overtones in their products, the component may be just what they’re looking for. Combine the powder and extract to bring out the warmth of vanilla in your favourite dishes to their fullest potential.
How to Make Vanilla Bean Powder and How to Use It in Recipes
Naturally, sweets such as frosting and cookies are excellent choices for the use of the ground vanilla extract. Again, depending on the taste character you’re aiming for, you may use it in conjunction with vanilla extract or as a replacement. Palmer recommends starting with half the amount of the original vanilla extract to get a sense of how it works. If at all feasible, make a test batch in order to discover the optimal ratio for your unique recipe needs. Despite this, you shouldn’t restrict yourself to sweets since the component is really adaptable. According to Norman, “since it’s dry and doesn’t include any alcohol or sweetness, you may use it like any other spice in your cupboard.” Use it as a topping for basic dishes such as oatmeal or yoghurt, for example, to make it more interesting. Another alternative, according to him, is to include it in jams, smoothies, chia pudding, granola, or applesauce.
You may be shocked to hear that vanilla bean powder can be used in savoury recipes as well as sweet ones. Norman likes to use it in dishes that call for other warm spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, cumin, or mustard, which he finds to be particularly delicious. He goes on to say that the item matches especially well with sweet potatoes and pumpkins and that a little amount may bring depth to stews and sauces as well. Additionally, if you consume meat, you may enhance the flavour of your preferred dry rub by mixing in powdered vanilla, says Norman. One suggestion is to season pork chops the night before you want to cook them with salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and a pinch of pure powdered vanilla extract before grilling or baking them.