In this article, we'll give you the skinny on vanilla extract. We'll answer your biggest questions about taste, how to use it in your recipes, and what makes it different from fresh vanilla pods.
Let's dive in...
What Does Vanilla Extract Taste Like?
Many of us are familiar with the scent, if not the taste, of vanilla. The extract carries a sweet fragrance and potent flavor quite unlike any other.
In recipes, vanilla extract is sugary, almost caramelly in taste with a light floral component that's somewhat similar to jasmine. Mostly, it's the sugary-floral combination that characterizes vanilla.
Is Vanilla Extract Bitter?
The extract that's commonly sold in the supermarket is made with vanilla bean and ethyl alcohol. The vanilla bean is sweet, but the alcohol is bitter and unpleasant, making vanilla extract an ingredient you wouldn't want to taste by itself.
While vanilla extract is bitter, this aspect of its flavor will not be added to your baking if you use it, so don't worry. Your vegan cupcakes will be delicious.
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Does Imitation Vanilla Extract Taste the Same?
For all intents and purposes, yes, imitation vanilla extract tastes the same as pure vanilla extract. The imitation stuff generally comes from artificial flavor sources, but it's usually pretty seamless.
Some people feel that you can taste the difference between these two extract types in lighter treats like vegan custards and cake icings. However, denser recipes like muffins and cookies don't tend to be affected.
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Can You Eat Vanilla Extract Without Cooking It?
There is nothing wrong with adding some vanilla extract to a recipe that does not require cooking or baking. In fact, a drop or two of vanilla extract in your vegan hot cocoa is sublime.
Because vanilla extract is so strong, you only need a small amount whether you're heating it or not. However, raw recipes may showcase the bitterness of too much vanilla extract more than baked goods.
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Vanilla Extract Recipe Tips
There's almost no dessert recipe that wouldn't be improved with some vanilla extract. If you're new to it, we suggest making something that really showcases its beautiful flavors. For ideas, watch these short recipe videos.
Looking for thee best vegan vanilla ice cream to make hot fudge sundaes or top your vegan apple pie with? This is the ticket. Here's what you'll need:
- Cocoa butter
- Coconut oil
- Coconut milk
- Vanilla extract
- Vanilla bean
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So you'd like to make vegan cupcakes but you're still searching for a frosting recipe. Well, look no further. To make this vanilla frosting, grab the following ingredients:
- Powdered sugar
- Vegan butter
- Vanilla extract
- Nondairy milk
Vanilla extract is sweet-smelling and caramel sugary in sweet treats even though the extract itself is very bitter. But vanilla extract isn't eaten alone, anyway! It's such a wonderful flavor that it seems like every dessert recipe includes at least a splash, but try your hand at vegan vanilla ice cream at home to see what that little bottle of extract can really do.
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