Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vanilla Powder: The Ultimate Coffee Condiment and More

Stroll into any Starbucks Coffee and find powdered vanilla among the other coffee condiments. Vanilla powder is arguably one of the most popular additions to coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, and more. However, the sweet, rich, yet subtle taste of pure vanilla isn’t limited to caffeinated beverages. Vanilla powder is just as versatile in the kitchen as it is at the coffee house.

Pure vanilla powder is made by grinding real vanilla beans into a fine textured powder. The end result has the consistency of confectioner’s sugar, but contains small flecks of vanilla making it perfect for baking and homemade vanilla ice cream. Powdered vanilla is alcohol and gluten free and often used as a vanilla extract substitute whenever liquid creates a potential problem such as with some icings and melted chocolate. For recipes, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract is equal to 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla powder.

Vanilla powder is more flavorful than most vanilla extracts, requiring hundreds of vanilla beans to produce a single pound of vanilla powder. As such, it is well suited for baking and any preparation that calls for a light, rather than dark colored vanilla seasoning. The vanilla flavor will not dissipate even with prolonged cooking. However, unlike vanilla extract, vanilla powder will keep indefinitely so long as it’s stored in a cool, dry place in an opaque, airtight container.

Sprinkle vanilla powder on waffles or fresh fruit to add subtle richness or use it as a light glaze on corn and carrots. Create a unique hot chocolate mix or jazz up desserts. Powdered vanilla is the perfect addition to any food or beverage that could benefit from the taste of pure vanilla. Although it may not be available in many grocery stores, vanilla powder can generally be purchased online in different quantities.

It’s not just for coffee anymore.