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Richard in Cincy

I have heeded the results of the Cook's Illustrated Vanilla Tests

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Joined: Dec 12, 2005

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Posted to Thread #30619 at 4:00 pm on Nov 25, 2018

a couple years back where they compared real vanilla to imitation.

The imitation vanilla extract was the winner. Why? Because the natural vanilla flavor and aroma profiles bake off at temps over 275F or so.

The imitation vanila left the vanilla flavor profile in the baked good; the real stuff didn't because it evaporates in the heat.

So I use imitation vanilla in baking, real vanilla in non-baking desserts, and save my money.

Also, something I got from Sarah Moulton years ago: Baker's BLOV (Butter, Lemon, Orange, Vanilla extract). It's the secret to getting that professional bakery taste in your baked goods. I frequently use half vanilla/BLOV or all BLOV in cakes, cookies, etc. It really makes a difference. I love it in the sugar cookie bases for Spitzbuben (why, yes, I am eating one right now!).

You can get BLOV at your local cake and candy specialty store. It is also sold as "Creme Bouquet" by some producers. Same thing.


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