Ina Garten smiles at an event while signing a cookbook.
Ina Garten's Go-To Brand Of 'Good Vanilla'
When it comes to making iconic desserts such as Beatty's chocolate cake or tres leches cake with berries, there’s only one store-bought vanilla Ina Garten turns to: Nielsen-Massey.
Nielsen-Massey, a family-owned company, has been making its vanilla extract for over a century. It's widely used by both pro chefs and the best pastry schools in the U.S.
The company obtains its vanilla beans from some of the most renowned vanilla-growing regions in the world, including Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Tahiti.
As with all high-quality vanilla, Nielsen-Massey's Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract is pricier than the generic stuff. A 2-ounce bottle costs just under $16 on Amazon.
Garten is partial to Nielsen-Massey's extract as a store-bought option, but by her own admission, homemade vanilla is still one of her favorite ingredients.
To make your own, Garten recommends placing vanilla beans in a jar large enough to fit them without bending them, then pouring in vodka until the beans are completely covered.
Keep your jar in a cool, dark place to age and you'll be rewarded with homemade extract in just over a month's time, though Garten says it's best to wait six months.