How to Make Vanilla Powder
Vanilla powder is pure, unadulterated vanilla bean made by grinding dried vanilla beans. It is stronger and more potent than vanilla extract and gives a rich, robust vanilla flavor.
Cook’s Illustrated tested vanilla powder and vanilla bean paste to see how they compared to vanilla extract and whole vanilla beans. The testers were unanimous in their preference for vanilla powder over vanilla extract in baked goods. In custards or pastry creams, vanilla paste was a very close second to the whole vanilla bean. It gives a robust vanilla flavor without the boozy bite that vanilla extract can give. Vanilla powder and vanilla paste are also perfect for people who don’t use alcohol for allergy, religious, or other reasons.
Whole vanilla beans are a luxury in the kitchen and the lovely flavor they give to custards, ice creams, and baked goods can’t be matched with extract. They are, however, very pricey and an extra step in a recipe. The amount of vanilla beans you can scrape from a pod seems so tiny compared to the cost. And when I scrape them out, I get so annoyed if I see any clinging to the cutting board or my fingers. Then there’s the pod. The pod also has a lot of flavor. Yes, you can stick it in a jar of sugar and wait a while for vanilla sugar. But what if you could easily use the whole pod, with no waste, and it’s just as easy to use as grabbing a bottle of extract. That’s where vanilla powder and vanilla paste comes in.
Since extracts use alcohol as carriers for the aroma, flavor can be lost during the baking process as the alcohol evaporates. Vanilla powder maintains its flavor and aroma under the high heat of the oven. Vanilla powder is good to use when you want pure vanilla flavor without the added liquid or alcohol.
How to Make Vanilla Powder:
Homemade Vanilla Bean Powder is easy to make and far less expensive that buying it pre-made. The first step is drying out the beans. There are several ways of doing this:
*Leave vanilla beans out on the counter for several weeks.
*Bake the vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven for about and hour.
*Bake the vanilla beans in a 350 degree F oven for about 5 minutes.
*Microwave the vanilla beans for about 20-30 seconds. They should puff up and become crisp.
I personally prefer to bake the vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven. It’s not so hot that the beans will easily burn, and it seems to be the quickest natural way of drying them. I don’t recommend baking them in a 350 degree oven as I have burned vanilla beans using this method. They burn very quickly.
Bake vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour to an hour and a half. You want them to get nice and dried out but not burnt. They will still be pliable when you take them out of the oven, but will become brittle as they cool. It’s necessary for the beans to become brittle for a finely ground powder. After they cool, cut them up into smaller pieces and grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder.
Since vanilla powder is more concentrated, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder can be used in place of 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Don’t forget to pin for later!Print
- vanilla beans
- Bake vanilla beans in a 150 degree F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about an hour to an hour and a half. You want them to get nice and dried out but not burnt. They will still be pliable when you take them out of the oven, but will become brittle as they cool. It’s necessary for the beans to become brittle for a finely ground powder. After they cool, cut them up into smaller pieces and grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder.