|See the tiny bottle on the left, I paid over $12 for it, the large one on the right was just under $40, I love this stuff!|
That is until I started reading baking blogs and read about bakers using vanilla bean paste. I was all, that sounds good. And I went looking for it. I found it, but usually it was like $15 for a small bottle, and when my cookies needed like 4 TBSPs I was not going to get it. Then at a warehouse store I found a bottle for $7, got it and was promptly hooked.
Now vanilla bean paste is just what it says. It is vanilla beans, the tiny little seeds, in a nice thick paste. So you use it just like vanilla and it is amazing.
I find it gives a nice strong flavour, and you feel fancy saying "this is vanilla bean such and such" Being fancy is a big deal you know.
Anyway I use it in place of vanilla in most things. I also looked for the best price, because if you are using it a lot it can add up. I found it at my local baking store for $40 for this huge jar. Great price and it does not last if you bake a lot.
I use it in almost anything. The only exceptions are when I make icing that I am going to colour, I don't think seeing little flecks of bean looks as nice as when you are making a coloured icing. Also chocolate stuff, you cannot see the flecks and I will either do half and half paste and fake vanilla or just use fake. When I make my sugar cookies I use half paste and half the fake stuff, I need 4 TBSPs I think, so that is a lot, it works just as well. Also when I make homemade marshmallows, this is the best stuff for it, it really makes a difference in the taste and look of them.
So if you can, give it a try, I love it and it really does add a nice touch. I am also paranoid and mention to people that things like my cookies have vanilla bean paste so they don't think it is dirt.
Could you imagine? "Wow these are some fancy vanilla bean cookies.''
"That's not vanilla beans, that's dirt."
It could happen!