KarolynAndrea Posted 12 Apr 2012 , 10:15pm
post #1 of

I have been using Wilton Clear Vanilla for 10 years, people seem to love it. But I can't help but to think there's something better out there. What do you suggest as a great tasting clear vanilla?

19 replies
AZCouture Posted 12 Apr 2012 , 10:33pm
post #2 of

Oh my, clear vanilla isn't even remotely close to being real vanilla. It's strained from sort of wood pulp, and quite fake. Do you use it to keep butter cream or fondant white? If not, switch now! Even if it's generic vanilla extract store brand, it's still better than the Wilton stuff.

AZCouture Posted 12 Apr 2012 , 10:34pm
post #3 of

Oh I'm sorry, you wanted recommedations for another brand of clear imitation vanilla. Sorry! I would imagine they are all pretty much the same.

leah_s Posted 12 Apr 2012 , 10:45pm
post #4 of

I buy it by the gallon from Dawn Foods.

annakat444 Posted 13 Apr 2012 , 3:47am
post #5 of

My local cake supply store carries Happy Home clear vanilla. I've been very happy with it!

cherrycakes Posted 13 Apr 2012 , 4:25am
post #6 of

Watkins also has a very nice clear imitation vanilla.

SoFloGuy Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 8:15am
post #7 of

If you make your own Vanilla using vodka and vanilla beans. (I bought my beans online, they come vacuum packed, arrived quickly and were not expensive) it will not be as dark as the real vanilla that you find in the stores which usually add something to make it darker. Also it will take about 2 months for you to make the vanilla, but it's a lot cheaper than buying even the imitation kind.

Here is some that I made and use, (I keep it in an old booze bottle) it's an amber color and doesn't change the white frosting color much.


Image

scp1127 Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 8:21am
post #8 of

They don't add color, the strength must be to FDA code to call it extract. With the wrong strength, it's just flavored vodka. Real homemade extract is almost black in the jar.

Also, making the correct strengt to call it extract will cost as much as buying it. Using cheap vodka will also make the flavor unpleasant vs. store-bought. To make it correctly costs me about the same as NM vanilla bean paste ($1.00/oz.).

SoFloGuy Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 5:08pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

They don't add color, the strength must be to FDA code to call it extract. With the wrong strength, it's just flavored vodka. Real homemade extract is almost black in the jar.

Also, making the correct strengt to call it extract will cost as much as buying it. Using cheap vodka will also make the flavor unpleasant vs. store-bought. To make it correctly costs me about the same as NM vanilla bean paste ($1.00/oz.).




All homemade vanilla extract is flavored vodka (or other alcohol, you can make Rum Vanilla too) . That's what you are doing you are flavoring the vodka with vanilla beans. The longer you let it sit will determine how dark it gets as well as how strong the vanilla flavor will be. Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste and some add color to it.

Using "cheap" Vodka is fine as long as it's cheap in price and not in quality. I used McCormick Vodka (second best selling American Vodka) which is quadruple distilled and it only costs about $15 for a 1.75 liter bottle. If it tastes good enough to drink, it's good enough for vanilla. There is a myth that you need to use expensive vodka to make good vanilla. When done it will smell like vanilla flavored vodka because that's what it is, it won't smell the same as commercial brands because there is no added sweetener, which is not needed anyway.


Also be careful if you buy commercial vanilla from Mexico. (FDA does not allow tonka bean extract even in imitation vanilla. Because they contain coumarin, tonka beans do not meet the food safety requirements for sale in the United States under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These products often are labeled in Spanish Extracto de vainilla or Vainilla. If these products contain tonka beans rather than vanilla beans, they have been imported illegally into the United States, and FDA advises consumers not to purchase or use these products. )

The Vanilla that I made looks darker in the bottle and in the measuring spoon, but does not discolor the frosting to a noticeable point, I took the picture by holding it against the light so you will see it's not as dark as you think.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 5:43pm

For everyone - the government requires 13.5 ounces of vanilla per gallon of vodka. The requirement is also a 35% alcohol and vodka fills the bill well.

I start using it after three months and it only gets better. I have found that there is a distinct shift in the aroma when the vanilla properties take over and you no longer think of vodka. Basically, if you use the correct amount of beans in the right amount of vodka it will turn to a vanilla that is warm and familiar with little or no vodka - if that makes sense.

As with any homemade product, people have different preferences and different results. I make it cheaper than I can buy it. However, more importantly, I think it is better. Some people don't.

I like to encourage people to try homemade vanilla as well as the different varieties. Personally, Madagascar is traditional, but full and rich when homemade. Tahitian takes on a lighter floral tone. And Mexican has an almost caramel flavor. They are really interesting and good.

A tip for people - the only difference between cheap vodka and good vodka is filtering. You can upgrade your cheaper vodkas by running them through a regular Brita filter. The more you filter it, the better it becomes.

SoFloGuy Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 5:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

For everyone - the government requires 13.5 ounces of vanilla per gallon of vodka. The requirement is also a 35% alcohol and vodka fills the bill well.

.




by ounces of vanilla, I assume you mean vanilla beans. There are about 7.5 grade A beans per ounce which would mean there are about 100 vanilla beans per gallon. Dividing by 16 cups means about 6 beans per cup of vodka.

tigachu Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 8:12pm

With scp's guidance, I now make my very own vanilla extract. It is fragrant, dark, and kicks a serious vanilla punch! IMHO, no other vanilla extract can even compare. I like to use it with vanilla bean paste and vanilla sugar in my vanilla cakes and pancakes. I also have ground vanilla beans and vanilla powder. I just love vanilla, can you tell??!!??

matthewkyrankelly Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 8:35pm

Yes, but you don't need grade A. Extract grade works well. I buy on-line and 100 beans is no problem and reasonably priced.

bakechef Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 10:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

For everyone - the government requires 13.5 ounces of vanilla per gallon of vodka. The requirement is also a 35% alcohol and vodka fills the bill well.

I start using it after three months and it only gets better. I have found that there is a distinct shift in the aroma when the vanilla properties take over and you no longer think of vodka. Basically, if you use the correct amount of beans in the right amount of vodka it will turn to a vanilla that is warm and familiar with little or no vodka - if that makes sense.

As with any homemade product, people have different preferences and different results. I make it cheaper than I can buy it. However, more importantly, I think it is better. Some people don't.

I like to encourage people to try homemade vanilla as well as the different varieties. Personally, Madagascar is traditional, but full and rich when homemade. Tahitian takes on a lighter floral tone. And Mexican has an almost caramel flavor. They are really interesting and good.

A tip for people - the only difference between cheap vodka and good vodka is filtering. You can upgrade your cheaper vodkas by running them through a regular Brita filter. The more you filter it, the better it becomes.




I experience the same thing that you do. After about 6 months, the aroma goes from alcohol, to sweet vanilla bliss. Mine looks almost black in the bottle.

Right now the extract that I make is made with Mexican vanilla beans, their flavor is by far my favorite. I have used Madagascar in the past and really enjoyed the extract from them as well, but Mexican is my favorite.

scp1127 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 5:37am

Sorry, SoFlo, matthewkelley is correct. Your's is not extract. It is vanilla flavored vodka. The length of time has absolutely nothing to do with the FDA standards.

I am now manufacturing my gourmet vanilla for a wholesaler that will take it nationally. It must meet FDA standards and mine does.

tigachu and others with whom I have shared my ratios, I would appreciate it if that recipe stayed private because of the recent expansion of my business.

tigachu, I'm really glad you liked it. I'm also in the process of developing an organic line. I don't know if the results will be as good, but the vodka is pure top shelf with original hints of vanilla. Pm me if you are interested.

scp1127 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 5:41am

By the way, grade A beans will actually pull the ratios down and further away from the desired ratios for extract. Again, matthewkelley is correct. The thinner, less plump beans are the ideal for extract. The added moisture in the plump beans only adds the moisture into the liquid, diluting the ratios.

bakechef Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 2:30pm

The first time that I made "extract" I followed the formulas that are all over the internet, I thought that the vanilla seemed weak. Then I started digging more and realized that for a true extract that I had to use a lot more beans. Now I'm using 6-8 beans per cup of vodka and I like the results much better. I also let it age a full 6 months before using it, by then the alcohol smell is replaced by a naturally sweet vanilla aroma. The extract is now almost black in the bottle. When I transfer it to a small bottle, it is still very dark, not amber.

bakechef Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 3:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Sorry, SoFlo, matthewkelley is correct. Your's is not extract. It is vanilla flavored vodka. The length of time has absolutely nothing to do with the FDA standards.

I am now manufacturing my gourmet vanilla for a wholesaler that will take it nationally. It must meet FDA standards and mine does.

tigachu and others with whom I have shared my ratios, I would appreciate it if that recipe stayed private because of the recent expansion of my business.

tigachu, I'm really glad you liked it. I'm also in the process of developing an organic line. I don't know if the results will be as good, but the vodka is pure top shelf with original hints of vanilla. Pm me if you are interested.




scp, would the ratio that I use be sufficient in your opinion? I use quadruple filtered Burnette's vodka, it seems like one of the better "cheap" vodkas, I've used it in mixed drinks and find it pretty good actually, definitely not the cheapest in the store, but nowhere near top shelf. Right now I'm using grade A Mexican beans (never been able to find grade B Mexican).

I ask because I am getting ready to start a new batch. When one batch is ready, I usually start another, so that I have at least 6 months for it to steep.

scp1127 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 10:32pm

bakechef, pm me. I'll also help you get the right beans. Susan

sweettreat101 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 11:02pm

Mc Cormick clear vanilla. Roundeye Supply sell 6 1 pint bottles for under 23.00. Tastes better than Wilton clear vanilla. I posted this last night but someone removed my post.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%