Vanilla Beans or Vanilla Extract?


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Which do you prefer?

If I'm just making some chocolate chip cookies for my nephew's bake sale or a batch of brownies as a midnight treat, I always just use plain vanilla extract.

In fact, I almost always use extract unless I'm baking for a special event and want my products to have that fancy vanilla bean speckling. I can't really say if I've ever noticed a difference in taste between the two, to me vanilla tends to blend into the background so unless I'm really trying to impress, I don't bother spending the extra money on actual beans.

For awhile I used vanilla bean paste, and I think I probably prefer that over any of the other options, but it's so expensive and I go through it so fast that it seems like a waste.
 
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I tend to use vanilla bean paste, but mostly because it's so versatile. I don't there is much of a difference flavourwise, but I like to see the little flecks in things like ice-cream and cheesecake. It is expensive, but you only need a quarter as much when compared to vanilla extract - I find that the tiny little pot lasts me months!
 
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I'd love to use vanilla beans (I've avoided some great recipes because they were calling for it) but sadly it's very hard if not almost impossible to find over here. I guess that if I do find it it is going to cost an arm and a leg to buy it. Which is funny, because I read this country (Mexico) is one of the biggest exporters, and there is even a festival dedicated to it somewhere in the south o_O

I've also hear the best vanilla comes from there, go figure. I use mostly the extract of the vanilla, the one that comes in a bottle ready to use. I actually need to get some today.
 
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I'd love to use vanilla beans (I've avoided some great recipes because they were calling for it) but sadly it's very hard if not almost impossible to find over here. I guess that if I do find it it is going to cost an arm and a leg to buy it. Which is funny, because I read this country (Mexico) is one of the biggest exporters, and there is even a festival dedicated to it somewhere in the south o_O

I've also hear the best vanilla comes from there, go figure. I use mostly the extract of the vanilla, the one that comes in a bottle ready to use. I actually need to get some today.
That's funny, I've always heard that Mexican vanilla is supposed to be the best too! I actually had a friend bring a couples bottles back for me when she went on vacation to Mexico a few years ago.

As far as the beans go, I think that in most cases regular vanilla extract can be used instead. Which one I use depends on how much I felt like spending at the store that day rather than what the recipe calls for :)
 
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@cakeycakey How was it? I have tried different Mexican brands, but to be honest I can't tell what the big fuss is about. Of course, I'm no expert in the matter ;P But I've only used cheap brands, I have yet to try the really good brands of Mexican vanilla :oops::oops:
 
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@Trellum to be honest, once it was in the baking I couldn't tell a difference one way or another :p It tasted good though and it smelled delicious, and it came in a fancy little bottle which too which was fun.
 
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@cakeycakey Fancy bottle? Then we definitely haven't tried the same brand, I get the one from the grocery store, in a big plastic bottle :p I have yet to taste a vanilla extract that really stands out from the others I have tasted, I can wait and hope ;)
 
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I've never used either vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste, but someday I hope to. I'm on a tight budget right now, so I use what I have on hand, which is standard vanilla extract, and it's not the best brand, but seems to do the job. I've used more expensive extract in the past and hadn't noticed much of a difference myself, which is why I'm o.k. with using the cheaper one for now.
 
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Have you tried making your own vanilla extract? It's very easy. I buy my beans from www.beanilla.com They sell vanilla beans from all over the world and I find them to be cheaper than the stores near me.
 
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