Food - Drink
Vanilla Paste Vs. Vanilla Extract: What's The Difference?
The vanilla flavor we all know and love comes from the seed pods of climbing orchids native to Central and South America, and these vanilla "beans" can be turned into extract or paste. Extract is the go-to for baked goods, ice cream, and more, but vanilla paste is more than just a thicker version of extract, and deserves your consideration.
Vanilla extract is made by steeping vanilla beans in alcohol, typically vodka, in order to create a liquid essence of vanilla flavor. Vanilla extract is a great way to add richness and dimension to baked goods, but not necessarily the best option for desserts where vanilla is the star of the show, such as ice cream — that's where vanilla paste comes in.
Vanilla paste is a syrupy blend of vanilla extract and vanilla powder, often studded with flecks of vanilla beans. These intensely-flavored pastes are a great option for cooks who don't want to splurge on fresh beans, but need something bolder than extract; however, vanilla paste is more expensive, and less pure bottles may include sugar or corn syrup.
Vanilla paste and extract are usually interchangeable, but consider the application of your vanilla beforehand. Vanilla extract is a cheap yet effective staple that is ideal for your cookies and cakes, but in delicate recipes where extra liquid can ruin the final texture, such as in frosting and whipped cream, paste might be your best bet.