9 Times When You Should Use Ground Vanilla Powder Instead of Vanilla Extract…

A bottle of quality vanilla extract is a pantry staple of all good home bakers – but a lessor known gem that can be a great alternative, is ground vanilla bean powder.

Vanilla bean powder is simply vanilla beans, dried to zero percent humidity and ground into a fine powder. There are some powders on the market that have been sweetened with powdered sugar or filled out with synthetic fillers, but true vanilla powder, such as Raw Food Factory is made from vanilla beans and nothing more.

Vanilla powder gives a really concentrated flavor, so if you’re substituting powder for beans, extract or paste in recipes, use ½ teaspoon of ground powder for 1 bean, or ½ teaspoon of ground powder for every teaspoon of extract or paste.

Since vanilla powder is drier than extract and void of alcohol, there are some situations where vanilla powder can be an excellent choice for vanilla flavor.

When you want to avoid alcohol – ground vanilla powder is an excellent vanilla product for those who want to avoid alcohol. The FDA stipulates that vanilla extract must contain 35% alcohol. So if you don’t want to consume alcohol, substitute vanilla extract for ground vanilla powder just by using half the quantity of required vanilla extract.

When you choose to live a Paleo lifestyle – ground vanilla is also a big hit with Paleo, raw food and vegan communities as it is simply ground vanilla beans – and nothing else. No sugar, corn starch, gums, fillers or synthetic ingredients. If you’re looking for a Paleo vanilla dish, try this one: Paleo Vanilla Choc Mousse from The Merrymaker Sisters.

When you’re cooking something at a high heat or for a long time – since extract contains alcohol, when cooking at high heat or for long time duration extract looses its potency due to evaporation so if you’re wanting a great vanilla flavor in that rice pudding or tapioca, give the ground vanilla a try.

When you have a color sensitive recipe – there are a number of color free vanilla products on the market, but if you have a look at what’s in it, there is no real vanilla at all. It’s a synthetic colorless concoction which tastes a bit like vanilla. Real vanilla extract, which of course is always brown, can taint the color of food however. This is a problem if you’re aiming for wedding-white vanilla icing. A better alternative to imitation colorless vanilla, however, is ground vanilla which, since it isn’t a liquid, won’t color icing the same way extract or paste might. 

When your mix is temperamental – For those of you who are talented enough to whip up a batch of macaroons or something equally temperamental, you’ll know that a small amount of added liquid can make all the difference between success and spectacular failure, in these cases ground vanilla powder is an excellent choice.

When you want to flavor your coffee naturally – most flavored coffees use artificial synthetic flavors. For the best vanilla coffee add a teaspoon of dried vanilla powder to your ground coffee before brewing.

When you’re making vanilla infused goodies – such as making your own vanilla sugar or vanilla salt. Use about a quarter of a teaspoon of ground vanilla powder per cup of salt or sugar and mix thoroughly. Store in glass jars with the lid on tight. 

When you’re making dry mixes – to make your own dried oatmeal packets, pancake mixes or protein shakes to be made up later ground powder is an absolute must. Add it in to the dry mix and you’ve got all the vanilla flavor you want without any liquid.

When something just needs a sprinkle of vanilla on top – as an after school winter treat when we were kids, my Mum used to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of buttered bread and grill for a minute or two until brown. It was the first thing i thought of when I saw the ground vanilla. How great it would be to sprinkle on buttered cinnamon toast! Ground vanilla powder is a perfect consistency for sprinkling, just as you might dust ground cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger to finish off a dish, try a sprinkle of ground vanilla powder on waffles, yogurt, fruit, protein shakes or smoothies.