Trader Joe's Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste Is An Elevated Swap For Extract

If you find the way vanilla extract flavors your baked goods to be underwhelming, we're here with an ingredient swap that might just change your mind. After all, your baked goods deserve a better flavoring ingredient, and Trader Joe's bourbon vanilla bean paste is a worthy upgrade. The bottle of sticky, dark, and fragrant paste imparts a rich vanilla flavor with no artificial aftertaste. Compared to extract, which has a sharp alcohol flavor, TJ's paste is lightly sweet and not unpleasant to taste solo.

With a base made from sugar syrup, it's less prone to evaporating along with all the flavor like an alcohol base does when you heat common extracts. The paste also contains little specks of high-quality bourbon vanilla seeds, the same ones you'd scrape from the interior of a vanilla bean. These spots of color are a visual reminder of your vanilla, adding character to light-colored confections like ice cream and vanilla custard. The paste is then fortified with a little vanilla extract to add a stronger flavor that won't waft away as you bake your cookies or cakes.

How to add Trader Joe's vanilla paste to your favorite recipes

Using vanilla paste instead of extract is a snap — it's a simple equal substitution. So, if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of extract, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste. There's no rule that you can't use more, though, and if you're looking for those attractive vanilla seeds to add visual appeal, doubling the amount is a good start. A huge advantage of vanilla paste is that increasing the measurement doesn't add alcohol, which can be a harsh flavor in recipes that aren't cooked, like honey-scented vanilla whipped cream.

If you need inspiration to get started with your jar of vanilla paste, a fluffy mound of vanilla buttercream frosting would be a great way to test out the flavoring. Swirl it on top of cupcakes, or go all out and make a batch of French macarons to fill with the creamy delight. For anyone who prefers the savory route, vanilla is a classic flavor accompaniment to lobster and shrimp — a dollop in a warm skillet swirled into a knob of butter is the perfect easy sauce after broiling or poaching your crustaceans. Or add a spoonful to your next vinaigrette for a burst of tropical flavor that will make any salad more delicious. It's time to take vanilla extract out of the baking cabinet, and this bourbon vanilla bean paste's sweeter, less bracing flavor makes it easy.