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Baking Extracts: Are They Created Equal?

I bake a lot, and as a frequent baker, I’ve found what works for me when it comes to ingredients.  Enter baking extracts: are they created equal?

Um, no.

Vanilla extract is a good point of reference.

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When I bake, I use “pure vanilla” and not “vanilla flavoring” or just “vanilla extract.”  The difference is that pure vanilla extract has nothing added, like sugar or corn syrup.  Pure vanilla is vanilla bean extracts and alcohol.  That’s it.  Fun fact: it’s also gluten-free.

There is some school of thought that imitation vanilla and those with added sugar are fine for baked goods, like cookies and cakes.  In reviews, the taste difference between the pure vanilla and vanilla flavoring was marginal at best.  But for puddings or anything cooked at a low heat, it’s best to use a pure vanilla.  It did give me pause about the vanilla I use, but not enough to change my mind.

I honestly just want to buy one and be done.  Simple and easy.

My trusted brand for a vanilla baking extract is McCormick’s.  I use enough of it to buy it in the handy 16 oz bottle.

Vanilla Extract

image source: Amazon

It’s not fancy, but it works for me.

I’ve used the Mexican Vanilla (not a fan).  I’ve also used specialty vanillas, but I keep coming back to my trusted friend.

I have yet to make my own…maybe soon, just for fun.  Even then, I’ll keep a bottle of McCormick’s on hand.

What say you?  Do you have a trusted go-to extract?

Tell us!




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Amber Day Hicks

Wednesday 10th of July 2013

Hmmmm... Will try this next go around, I love to bake & I am tired of the little itty birth container, now let me know if you can get red food coloring in bigger containers for red velvet cake I have to use like three of those little things.. Just sayin'

Mrs. Tucker

Wednesday 10th of July 2013

I have no idea about the food coloring thingy, as I am not a big food coloring using gal. But, it's worth checking into.


Sunday 9th of June 2013

Never knew this! Thanks for sharing at One Sharendipity Pl. this weekend!!

sue@ he

Mrs. Tucker

Sunday 9th of June 2013

You are welcome!

Theresa @DearCreatives

Sunday 9th of June 2013

I agree & really try to purchase only the pure vanilla & quality items. Popping in to say hi!

Mrs. Tucker

Sunday 9th of June 2013

We just can't help ourselves, can we!


Saturday 8th of June 2013

I had a giant bottle of vanilla that one of our neighbors brought back from a trip to south america. No idea where it came from or how to get more, but It was amazing! Everyone would ask why my chocolate chip cookies tasted so special. Once that was gone I went back to McCormick, but I recently bought a bottle of vanilla from Costco and found it to be surprisingly good.

Mrs. Tucker

Saturday 8th of June 2013

Oooo, I love stories like that. I recently bought a bottle from Costco, but took it back because it had added sugar, but as the test reveals, it really doesn't matter if you're baking with it. I'm glad someone tried it and liked it. Thanks for letting us know.

Vanilla Cupcakes With Strawberry Lemonade Frosting

Wednesday 5th of June 2013

[...] Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating at low speed until well blended.  Add vanilla and Kool-Aid flavor [...]

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