What are the different types of vanilla available?
- Vanilla extract, alcohol based
- Vanilla extract, sugar syrup based
- Dried vanilla beans
- Vanilla sugar
- Vanilla bean powder
The best choice in here will always be dried vanilla beans. The problem is that its expensive and we don't always have the time to cut them open and separate the seeds which is pretty tedious. Make sure you always select "Natural" vanilla, since the other one is a chemical and honestly, doesn't taste anything close to the real vanilla (also we don't like chemicals do we...).
Now we all see the liquid "Natural Vanilla Extract" in the stores, and that is a good choice. There are actually two types of it, the most common in the USA will be the one based on alcohol. Another one (which I prefer) is based on cane sugar syrup. The problem with the alcoholic one is that alcohol doesn't suit everything you may want to cook, for instance, don't put that in Panna Cotta!
The vanilla extract and the beans are my favorite since they are the most powerful. Vanilla sugar is not bad, just be careful to pick the natural one.
- Vanillin is not vanilla! its a chemical.
- Don't use your alcohol based vanilla extract with cream based pastries!