Best Vanilla?

Decorating By elipsis Updated 9 Apr 2009 , 6:12pm by cb_one

elipsis Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 12:24pm
post #1 of 55

What in your experience is THE BEST vanilla?

Thank you icon_smile.gif

54 replies
KASCARLETT Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 7:27pm
post #2 of 55

Personally, I think that Watkins vanilla is the best!

dsevans Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 8:47pm
post #3 of 55

la vencadora mexican vanilla

foxymomma521 Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 8:52pm
post #4 of 55

I've read so many things about Neilsen-Massey, that I bought myself a huge bottle earlier this month... While it smells great, I don't really notice a difference in the finished product compared to my normal stuff. (I usually use Berkeley & Jensen pure bourbon vanilla from BJs)

Deb_ Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 8:56pm
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Make your own with vanilla pods and vodka, you won't ever go back to the commercial stuff. icon_biggrin.gif

mcdonald Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:00pm
post #6 of 55

I make my own.....

Vanilla beans ordered online and vodka.... awesome stuff!!! Won't ever buy in the store again!!!

LaBellaFlor Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:29pm
post #7 of 55

I would LOVE to make my own, but vanilla beans are so EXPENSIVE! What do you pay for your vanilla beans & where do you get them? By the way I use Watkins.

foxymomma521 Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:32pm
post #8 of 55

I buy my vanilla beans on ebay... super cheap! I've ordered twice and really like the quality

PistachioCranberry Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:53pm
post #9 of 55

www.silvercloudestates.com
I buy mines from here and love them you get 8ozs(approx. 40) for about $30 and they last.

patticakesnc Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:57pm
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I like this site http://www.bulkfoods.com/spices.asp. Not sure if they are cheaper or more expensive than others since this is the only one I have found like this.

PistachioCranberry Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 9:58pm
post #11 of 55

If you think about how much vanilla you use it's cheaper to make your own. I use mason jars and try to do a few jars at a time since I use so much. Then when half the jar is gone I refill it and use all of that. After you have used it all you can dry your beans out and put them in sugar or use them in recipes that call for vanilla. Just scrape the beans out.

cats242 Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 10:14pm
post #12 of 55

How much vodka and how many beans to make a batch of vanilla?

Thanks!

PistachioCranberry Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 10:38pm
post #13 of 55

I use either the pint or the next size up mason jars for the pint you can use 4 or 5 beans and for the larger one I used 7 or 8. it depends on the size of the beans. After I put the beans in I just fill up the jar and let it sit for 3 weeks. The longer it sits the darker and more vanillay(if thats a word..lol) it gets.

LaBellaFlor Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 11:13pm
post #14 of 55

Does it matter what type of vodka? I'm partial to Belvidere's myselficon_wink.gif I ask, cause some of those rotgut vodkas have such a strong odor to them.

PistachioCranberry Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 11:22pm
post #15 of 55

I use 80 proof and the kind I buy is Nikolai. I always heard 80 proof or higher is best.

Suzie757 Posted 25 Mar 2009 , 11:29pm
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I also have bought vanilla beans at Costco. I paid $12.00 for 10 beans.

LaBellaFlor Posted 26 Mar 2009 , 12:04am
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I'm not sure how good of a price that is, but it sure beats what I paid, $8 for 2 beans!

GI Posted 26 Mar 2009 , 5:15am
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Make your own with vanilla pods and vodka, you won't ever go back to the commercial stuff. icon_biggrin.gif



Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Make your own with vanilla pods and vodka, you won't ever go back to the commercial stuff. icon_biggrin.gif



Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdonald

I make my own.....
Vanilla beans ordered online and vodka.... awesome stuff!!! Won't ever buy in the store again!!!




thumbs_up.gif Madagascar Vanilla Beans E-Bay on-line & the cheapest rot-gut I could get out of the liquor store.

THE Best Madagascar I have ever had!! icon_biggrin.gif And my cakes are h-e-a-v-e-n-l-y!

LaBellaFlor Posted 26 Mar 2009 , 3:03pm
post #19 of 55

I just now looked on e-bay & I can't believe how cheap vanilla beans are! Who do you guys recommend to purchase fom?

OhMyGanache Posted 26 Mar 2009 , 4:05pm
post #20 of 55
GI Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 4:55am
post #21 of 55

http://www.organic-vanilla.com/servlet/Categories?category=Bourbon+%28Planifolia%29+Grade+A+Gourmet+Vanilla+Beans%3AShorts%5C%3A+6%22-+7%22+%2815+-+17%2C5cm%29

I think they are out of what I want...but I made vanilla with these beans. Perfect.

OhMyGanache - I'm hesitant to use the paste!!! Is it indeed just as good or better than Madagascar Vanilla?? For 37 bucks, it seems like I've got a bettter cash deal on making my own. icon_confused.gif Man, but I wished someone lived close enough to go borrow some of the paste! icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif

elipsis Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 3:18pm
post #22 of 55

Thank You ladies so much.....when making your vanilla what is the color? Dark? Clear?

HerBoudoir Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 8:10pm
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by elipsis

Thank You ladies so much.....when making your vanilla what is the color? Dark? Clear?




All clear vanilla is artificially flavored. Real vanilla, home brewed or store bought, is dark because the vanilla beans and seeds are dark.

I've only bought off Vanilla Products USA on eBay, but I've been very happy with my purchases there. The last time I bought off of them, I got a 1/2 lb of madagascars and a 1/2 lb of tahitians for less than $30 total, and they included an extra 1/2 lb of tahitians. Everyone got a mason jar of home brewed vanilla extract last year with the extra tahitians icon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 10:17pm
post #24 of 55

So what do you all prefer. Tahitian or Madagascar?

JulyMama Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 10:39pm
post #25 of 55

Can anyone please tell me how to make your own? I would love to try. Do you just mix the two together? do you have to cook it? what's the ratio of beans to vodka?
TIA!

HerBoudoir Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 11:31pm
post #26 of 55

Madagascar Bourbons are robust in flavor and have loads of seeds. They're great for just about anything you want vanilla for. Tahitians are more "floral" in flavor and have fewer seeds. I like the Tahitians better for things like creme anglaise, pastry cream, ice cream base, creme brulee, etc. It's a personal preference - as inexpensive as they are on eBay, get a few of each and play with your food icon_smile.gif

To make your own, you need: Vanilla beans + booze + time.

So let's say you bought yourself a half pound of beans from eBay (you could buy a new car for what that quantity would cost in the grocery store). FYI, you want to store your beans as airtight as possible - I keep mine in a ziploc bag with the air squeezed out, then in a rubbermaid container, then in a dark cabinet. Air dries them out.

In addition to the beans, you need:

1. A glass foodsafe jar (dark glass if you have it, but Mason jars are cheap and work just fine). It's my understanding that plastic breaks down after a period of time so glass is better. You want something with a wide mouth so you can fish the beans out relatively easily at some point.

2. A dark cabinet where you can keep your extract while brewing.

3. Cheap a$$ rotgut vodka, enough to fill your jar - do not waste the good stuff on this, because the vanilla will take over any flavor the vodka may have. Save your Goose to marinate an olive.

4. Patience. That's the hard part.

So to get it started, make sure your jar is clean and dry. I start a fresh batch with about 6-8 beans, depending on how generous you're feeling with your bean stash. Split the beans, toss pods and seeds into the jar, and fill the jar with vodka. Screw the cap on tightly, and stick it in the cupboard.

Every time you use a bean, throw the scraped pod into the jar of brew. If you use the pod to poach in cream for a pastry cream type product, rinse it off before you add it to the brew. You can also stick the pod in your sugar jar for a week for vanilla sugar...but then still add the pod to the brew. So what I'm saying here is use your vanilla beans as normal, but instead of throwing out the pod, you're going to recycle it into vanilla extract. Thrifty, eh?

And in between - ignore the jar. Let it sit in the dark and do it's thing. You'll notice the color deepen, and when you open it, the vanilla aroma will get stronger and stronger. How long it will take for it to be ready to use depends on your pods to vodka ratio, and how often you add more pods, but it will probably take a couple of months to get a usable strength at first. Basically, you'll be able to tell by smell and a little taste when it's ready. I siphon some off the "mother jar" into a smaller jar to use, then add more vodka to the mother jar. In the year I've been brewing, I did sieve out the original beans and started again with fresh ones.

I find the home brewed vanilla to have a sweetness to it, and a wonderful aroma.

And if you're REALLY adventurous, you can make your own lemon, lime, and orange extract much the same way. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel the zest off the citrus fruit (avoid the pith), add to a jar, cover with vodka, then either trim the peel off the fruit or halve and juice as normal.

Happy brewing!

DyMakesCake Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 11:44pm
post #27 of 55

If you make your own do you use the same amount that is called for or less because it's stronger?

Sorry, that's probably a dumb question..... icon_wink.gif

Narie Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 11:47pm
post #28 of 55

I have never tried making my own, and I love deep flavor Mexican vanilla; however, my favorite is Vanilla Paste. The vanilla seeds are in the paste and add an extra something to the product. I used to reserve it for special items becasue of the price, but http://www.surfasonline.com/products/11946.cfm has it for a reasonable price.

HerBoudoir Posted 27 Mar 2009 , 11:53pm
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by DyMakesCake

If you make your own do you use the same amount that is called for or less because it's stronger?

Sorry, that's probably a dumb question..... icon_wink.gif




Depends on how strong your home brewed is. To add to the confusion, the strength of your home brewed will vary because if you're still soaking beans, it's going to grow stronger.

You can keep a bottle of commercial extract (You'll need some anyway to use while you're getting your own started) and do a comparison sniff test, but ultimately you kind of have to use your own judgement.

The extract that I started brewing about a year ago is quite strong but sweeter than commercial vanilla, so I usually use what's called for in the recipe (I'm also lazy). If I'm making something where vanilla is the dominant flavor (for example, a vanilla pound cake), I usually scrape 1 vanilla bean and add the seeds AND add a teaspoon of home brewed extract. Yum.

JulyMama Posted 28 Mar 2009 , 2:28am
post #30 of 55

Thank you so much HerBoudoir for taking the time to answer my question icon_smile.gif

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