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?
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.
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?