Food - Drink
The Vanilla Extract Swap For Deeper Flavor
When it comes to sweets, real vanilla is indispensable, and while debates rage on as to which region of the world grows the best vanilla beans, you also need to consider whether you'll use whole vanilla pods, an extract, or a paste in your desserts. However, you can also buy vanilla in another form that you may not know about.
For a more intense vanilla flavor, try using ground vanilla powder instead of extract. This product is made by grinding down the whole dried vanilla bean pods into a fine powder that is full of flavor and convenient to use; however, commonly-found white or beige powders labeled "vanilla powder" are not the best you can buy.
Many cheap vanilla powders combine sugar and/or starch with vanilla extract, so do your research to find a powder that is deep brown or black and made solely from ground, unextracted beans. Authentic vanilla powder is rich, aromatic, adds no extra liquid to finicky sweets, and lasts for up to two years in storage.
Vanilla powder is pricier than its more diluted counterparts, such as extract and paste, but the flavor of the powder is more concentrated, so when replacing extract with powder, halve the amount called for in your recipe. Vanilla powder can also replace some of the sugar in your dessert to reduce your overall sugar intake.