A few years ago, Bridget turned me on to Vanilla Bean Paste and my baking life has never been the same since!
What is Vanilla Bean Paste?
Unlike Vanilla extract, where a vanilla bean is usually infused with alcohol, Vanilla Bean Paste is made by infusing vanilla beans into a thick, sweet syrup made of sugar and water, and is packed full of vanilla bean seeds. Since the vanilla beans are actually scraped into the paste, you get the beautiful little vanilla bean flecks in whatever you’re baking along with the warm seductive vanilla flavor! As a result, you get a much fuller, richer and more intense hit of vanilla.
Vanilla Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as Ambassador to King Louis XVI of France, he became familiar with vanilla beans, and brought 200 vanilla beans back with him when he returned to the United States.
Where to buy and when to use it
Any time I really want the vanilla to shine in a recipe, I go for the Vanilla Bean Paste. I usually pick it up at Williams-Sonoma, but you can find it online as well. For $11, it’s way cheaper and easier than buying and scraping vanilla beans. You can add it to to coffee, whipped cream, butter cookies, ice cream, marshmallows, scones, buttercream…….really any recipe that calls for vanilla, and can be used in place of vanilla extract 1:1.
I usually save my vanilla bean paste for recipes where you will see the flecks of vanilla, like frosting, butter cookies, pound cake or Italian ice. But for recipes like brownies or lemon cupcakes where you wouldn’t see the flecks, I use homemade vanilla extract (will share how to make soon).
Do you bake with Vanilla Bean Paste?
Take a peek at what else I have in my pantry on pinterest.
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