Any avid baker will tell you that vanilla is one of the key ingredients in their pantry and that it brings most baked goods and desserts to life. It’s added to almost every cake, cookie, scone…you name it, vanilla is usually in that ingredient list.
Vanilla’s lovely aroma gives the perception of the dessert being sweeter, allowing you to cut down on the actual amount of sugar or sweetener you need to add. This is also true for cinnamon and cardamom. Vanilla also works to enhance all the other flavours in the recipe.
Vanilla paste it not the same as vanilla extract. The paste is more concentrated, and as the name suggests, is more of a paste like consistency compared to the liquid form of vanilla extract. Depending on the brand you buy, vanilla paste is usually made up of vanilla, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, sugar and some kind of thickening agent like guar gum. I like that vanilla paste doesn’t contain alcohol like most vanilla extracts do so it’s a great option for those who cannot consume alcohol.
Using vanilla pods would be the best option when it comes to baking but vanilla paste is so much more convenient! It’s almost the equivalent of vanilla pods, but with the seeds scraped out into a jar to make life much easier. It’s also much cheaper.
I always use vanilla paste in my recipes. The flavour of the vanilla is much more pungent and a little of it goes a long way. The 125g jar would last me ages (and I do a lot of baking!) 1 tsp of vanilla extract equals only 1/4 tsp of vanilla paste. I also love that it contains vanilla seeds, those small speckles that you get in good quality vanilla ice cream. They look so beautiful in recipes like frosting and healthy cheesecakes.
Recipes using Vanilla Paste: