There is a frenzied, nostalgic baking mode that a mere smell of vanilla could give you. The iconic bean can be used in anything involving cookies, cheesecake, or ice cream. In case you are trying to bake but you cannot find vanilla extract around you, there is something you can do, all you have to do is to get a substitute.
The good question to ask is what the best alternative to vanilla extract to bake cookies is. Some other forms of your vanilla including vanilla powder, vanilla beans paste, and vanilla beans can be used. If you cannot find yourself the true vanilla alternative, then you should try spice, liquor, alternative flavored extract, honey, maple syrup, or artificial vanilla essence.
Each of the substitutions listed above adds an original thing to the recipe and some could work better more than some others, this is dependent on the cookies you are baking. What we want to check in this article is to get the best alternative to various cookies to confidently be able to replace vanilla extract from any recipe of cookies.
What is Vanilla Extract?
The purest vanilla variety is a vanilla extract that is made from alcohol and vanilla beans. The beans get soaked long so that their flavor is extracted into your alcohol and it is then used to bake. Note that you might have been purchasing artificial vanilla for several years if you are unable to discern the difference. You might have been using artificial type and still get similar results in your baking because present in the aroma is half of the vanilla power. If you possess the finely tuned palette, the difference will be noticed when you buy real vanilla of high quality or make your vanilla.
Pure Vanilla Substitution Options
An entire vanilla bean has a very intense flavor and it is one of the most expensive spices that you can see, being second to saffron. People tend to find it affordable in a small quantity, though not as cheap as much artificial variety or other extracts. If you can get an entire bean, you should slice the bean pod open to get the sticky inside. Half a bean would replace one teaspoon of your vanilla extract. Your bean pod can also be saved by placing it inside a sugar jar to try to get vanilla scented sugar.
You can get the thick vanilla bean paste from blending vanilla extract with the gooey area of your vanilla beans. Though this can be very difficult to find, it is rich and the taste is delicious and could be used as an alternative to vanilla extract.
The purest vanilla form just next to your vanilla bean itself is vanilla bean powder and it is produced by drying the vanilla bean and then grinding it to become powder form. You can use half of this as a replacement for your vanilla recipe to get an interesting flavor.
How To Make Vanilla Extract
In case you have vodka and vanilla bean paste, or vanilla beans, you can decide to make your homemade vanilla extract. Though it may not be a solid solution, you can make it if you have leftovers of vanilla beans.
You can make vanilla extract by soaking your beans into alcohol. The most common alcohol used for brewing at home is vodka because it allows the vanilla flavor to shine with only little contamination. Bourbon and rum can also be used though they may create some extract flavor. Check out how you can do it below:
- Split three vanilla beans open and drop it in a Wick jar or small mason.
- Pour over it one cup of your alcohol. The mix will then be allowed to steep over in a dry and cool location where it will be tightly covered for up to one month before you can get a powerful flavor that you can use as a vanilla extract.
- As you wait, all you will need to do is to shake the jar every week.
In case you don’t want to wait or you are uncomfortable using vodka to make an extract or you do not have any alcohol that you can use. Check out how you can make yourself an extract of vanilla without using alcohol. This is more of vanilla syrup.
- Split the vanilla bean open and proceed to scrape the sticky material inside.
- Add water and simple sugar syrup to it and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes.
You can use immediately using the exact measurements of vanilla extract.
Is Vanilla Extract Necessary?
It is not always necessary to use vanilla extract in your recipe though the function is to add for you is aromatic sweetness and depth of flavors. To get the flavors out in baking, vanilla is used while salt is used in some savory recipes. Unless you are using the vanilla extract in a recipe such as vanilla ice cream to be the star in the meal, a vanilla extract does not really have any structural role that it does in baking, for example, if you compare with baking soda. This will make it very easy to use an alternative that has the same effect.
Best Vanilla Extract Substitute for Flavor Overall
The best substitute for vanilla extract when it comes to flavor is any of the forms of vanilla, like vanilla powder, bean, or bean paste. In case you also do not want to use any of the true vanilla substitutes, probably because it is exorbitant, the best you can use to get the flavor is to use the artificial vanilla essence, vanillin, or vanilla flavor.
The Best Vanilla Extract Substitute for Cookies
When you are looking for the best substitute for your vanilla extract, it is mainly dependent on what you are baking. Check the chart displayed below for the most common substitute for your vanilla extract.
|Substitute(s)||Per One Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract||The Best Application|
|Spices||Half teaspoon||Without extra liquid, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon all bring aromatic drama and flavor to cookies.|
|Liquor||Two teaspoons||To bring some certain flavors out, you can use bourbon, brandy, rum, or any other dark liquor.|
|Alternative Flavored Extract||Half to One teaspoon||If you want a hint of flavor, the aroma in your recipe, use butterscotch, berry, almond, or citrus extracts though some of them will be an excellent complement to ingredients in some recipes than others.|
|Honey||One teaspoon||Honey tends to add an aroma that is similar to that of vanilla to your recipe but it also adds more sweetness and this means you should reduce the sugar in your recipe.|
|Maple Syrup||One teaspoon||Consider maple syrup to be the most popularly used substitute for vanilla extract because it complements all the sweetness. Consider using the 100 percent pure to get the best results.|
|Vanilla Essence||Two teaspoons||This is a direct replacement for flavor. Some people may detect a chemical or bitter aftertaste. It is also not nearly as potent as the vanilla extract.|
|Vanilla Powder||Half teaspoon||For an unadulterated pure aroma and flavor, but without liquid. If necessary, you should adjust your recipe.|
|Vanilla Bean Paste||One teaspoon||This is the richest vanilla flavor possible and it works best by replacing it with the exact measurements of an extract.|
|Vanilla Bean||Half bean||This is the all-natural substitution for your vanilla extract. You might need to adjust the recipe because it is without a liquid present.|
Using Vanilla Extract in Cookies
Vanilla can break or make the dessert’s subtlety in baking. For cookies, it is less noticeable which means you can use more viable alternatives. Whether your cookie is humble sugar, peanut butter, ginger, or chocolate, they will all overpower the vanilla. This means that whether you substitute it or you do not use it at all, it will not be noticeable. When you are looking for a substitute, find a substitute that will enhance and complement the star flavor.
Substitute Vanilla Extract in Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
It is not all the recipes of the cookies that will need vanilla extract though it can enhance the recipes. Raisins and oatmeal both pair with any kind of nut perfectly and that means you can use the almond extract as a perfect solution. It is not wrong to use liquors, spices, honey, and maple syrup on the oatmeal cookie.
Vanilla Extract Substitute for Shortbread Cookies
Butter is the most relevant ingredient in a shortbread cookie. Vanilla is added to also support the flavor. You can use almond or lemon extract to make a bold flavor contribution. You can also use liquor as an alternative for your extract if you are an advocate for tradition.
Substitute for Vanilla Extract in Peanut Butter Cookies
We get peanut butter cookies by adding an egg, sugar, and peanut butter. Honey or maple syrup is the best alternative to vanilla extract. If you do not want the cookies to be too sweet, use lesser sugar than what the recipe needs so that you will compensate for those sweetness added by the honey or syrup.
Vanilla Extract Substitute in Sugar Cookies
The sugars flavor in your sugar cookies are usually from vanilla extract, this is one thing that people do not realize. You can use either of these two choices:
- Use specific spices or citrus extracts like cinnamon or ginger.
- Use maple syrup or honey and you can only hope that the cookie monsters do not take not of the subtle difference in the flavors you have familiarity with.
Substitute for Vanilla Extract in Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate is the obvious focal flavor for chocolate chip cookies. Though the vanilla scent might draw someone in, chocolate itself tastes great in or on anything. This means your options are limitless. Our favorite is dark bourbon or an orange extract. You can try to use almond extract or butterscotch as long as you are not competing with your chocolate. Use half the quantity of what the recipe calls for.
Can I make French toast without vanilla extract?
Originally, French toast was invented to use stale bread. It was produced using spicy and sweet ingredients that were on hand back then. Over the years, it became a treat than being breakfast. It however does not mean you cannot be traditional and process to use what you possess rather than follow a particular recipe. You can substitute your vanilla extract with the combination of allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and for flavor, sugar. You can also add some liquor such as brandy or rum and you can also opt for honey or maple syrup to get a sweet alternative.
What can I use to substitute for vanilla extract in ice cream?
The only alternative to vanilla extract in pure vanilla ice cream is to use any other vanilla form because all we are concerned about is the flavor and using any other thing will give a different flavor. Use vanilla paste, vanilla essence or flavor, or vanilla bean. The most important thing is that it must be vanilla.
Is there a substitute for vanilla extract in cheesecake?
Vanilla works to make the sweetness in cheesecake more intense. You can use any of these substitutes discussed above. Honey or maple syrup is the sweetest but liquor or another extract will only add more flavor depth. The butter extract can also help you create a buttery, silky cheesecake, depending on the topping of your choice.
What can I use to substitute for vanilla extract in banana bread?
You may not use vanilla extract in banana bread because it is majorly about a banana flavor. Only a little difference will be noticed. You can use an extract of different flavor if you are concerned, that’s if you possess one that is opposed to honey or maple syrup that may alter the bread’s consistency slightly. You can also use a liquor that will add a delicious aroma. You need not worry about alcohol because it will bake-off. It can then be taken by kids.
What is a good substitute for vanilla extract in frosting?
Consistency and texture are very important when creating a frosting. If the recipe needs vanilla extract, the best alternative is to use liquor or another extract. It will ensure the liquid to be balanced and the frosting will act as it is supposed to. However, the flavor may change subtly. Use bold extracts like coconut or berry to make a statement or you may add liquor in equal measurements with the vanilla extract to get a milder flavor.