People often mistake vanilla extract and vanilla essence to be the same but they are significantly different and their differences affect how they are used, their flavor as well as nutritional values. They are both made in different ways and it has been classified that one is healthier when compared to the other.
What we want to check in this article is how to differentiate between vanilla extract and vanilla essence. Vanilla extract can be considered to be a natural variety of vanilla while vanilla essence can be considered as a synthetic product of vanilla and it is cheaper than vanilla extract and also inferior in flavor and nutritional value.
You have to continue reading to get to know everything about how you can distinguish between vanilla extract and vanilla essence. We will check out their production, nutritional value, and purpose. We will also answer some questions that are commonly asked concerning how you can distinguish vanilla extract from vanilla essence.
Vanilla Extract Vs Vanilla Essence – What’s The Difference?
They both sound similar, but vanilla extract and vanilla essence are two products that are different. Natural ingredients are used to produce vanilla extract while you can synthetically produce vanilla essence and that makes it cheaper.
How Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Essence Are Produced
Real vanilla is not used to make vanilla essence. Even though it imitates vanilla, it is classified as a synthetic substance that is chemically produced and it usually includes petroleum or crude oil that is processed for it to imitate the flavoring of vanilla. Vanilla extract in contrast is considered to be naturally produced by soaking your vanilla pods inside the solution of water and ethyl alcohol. The strong flavor of vanilla extract is gotten from a molecule found inside vanilla beans called vanillin.
The Difference in Price: Affordable and Mostly Affordable
Vanilla essence is cheaper than the vanilla extract because the latter is gotten from higher and purer quality ingredients. Vanilla extract is more expensive but it is still affordable with the price ranging from $2 to $5 per ounce and it means an 8-ounce bottle will cost ranging from $20 to $40. Using a little will go a very long way when you use vanilla extract and it means your bottle will last for a very long time.
The Difference in Ingredients
The major difference between these two vanilla products (vanilla extract and vanilla essence) is the ingredients used to produce them and the method of production. The following are some of the ingredients used to produce vanilla essence:
- Propylene glycol
The ingredients used to produce vanilla extract include:
- Natural extracts from vanilla bean
Vanilla extract doesn’t usually contain any artificial products, just as seen in its ingredients. You also do not need to worry because vanilla extract has some sugar in it with the amount being insignificant. The natural and pure ingredients are considered the most essential component of focus.
Different Uses for Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Essence
Both vanilla extract and vanilla essence are used majorly for baking, they, however, have a difference in prices as well as quality, and this affects how they are used. You should continue reading to see how you should use vanilla extract and vanilla essence to cook.
How To Use Vanilla Extract
This particular product is gotten from high-quality ingredients and you can use it in different recipes as well as in baking. It helps as a great addition to pastries, cakes, and cookies and it is a wonderful product to use in situations that vanilla is the major ingredient. You can add this to vanilla pudding or custard by adding it when the dish has finished cooking and you have already taken it away from the heat. You should also do the same thing for icings and frostings.
When you are using it for baking, add it when adding the other wet ingredients. Allow your vanilla extract to shine when cooking with it. Allow it to shine in vanilla-based recipes like vanilla coffee creamer, angel food cake, vanilla meringue cookies, homemade vanilla ice cream, or vanilla cheesecake. Using vanilla extract for ice cream is our favorite method of using vanilla extracts.
How To Use Vanilla Essence
This product is way cheaper as compared to vanilla extract and it is quite convenient when used to bake in bulk or large quantities. However, because artificial ingredients are used to make it, its flavor is less natural and that means it should be used in recipes that vanilla is not a key ingredient. When you want to bake a large batch of cookies or cake that requires just a taste of vanilla, the usual inferior flavor associated with vanilla essence will probably not be noted.
Chefs and bakers can also get vanilla essence at an affordable price most especially when they have a large gathering to feed. You can add your vanilla essence when adding the other wet ingredients when you want to use vanilla essence for baking. You should not use vanilla essence in dishes like cold desserts including pudding and custard because of the superior flavor and quality of vanilla extract.
Substitutes For Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Essence
In case you cannot find either vanilla extract or vanilla essence to use, you can try to get some other alternatives that will work out in your recipe.
You could use vanilla bean paste as a substitute for vanilla extract and vanilla essence in different situations and it is gotten from mixing vanilla powder plus vanilla extract. You should appropriately use vanilla paste when you are trying to make cold products like icing, frosting, or ice cream. You will, however, have to ensure that it incorporates properly into the other ingredients because what is being used is much thicker in consistency than the vanilla extract or essence.
For any other vanilla project that is creative, place some into a sugar jar halved vanilla bean, you should then close the sugar jar and allow it to remain in a dark cool place for some weeks. The aromas of the vanilla will be absorbed by the sugar and you can use it for baking different recipes. Rather than add normal sugar into cupcakes and cookies, you can use this derived vanilla and use it to replace the vanilla extract or vanilla essence that your recipe needs.
You can also use this derived vanilla by adding milk or half-and-half to help spruce up vanilla coffee creamer or vanilla lattes if they are what you usually enjoy. The vanilla sugar usually lasts long and it is a reliable and affordable substitute for your vanilla extract.
Related Questions Concerning Vanilla Extract Vs Vanilla Essence
We have come a long way and you must have learned a lot of things from this particular topic concerning the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence. We have some regularly asked questions about this topic and we have provided answers to some of them, read below:
Can you make vanilla essence at home?
You might not be able to make homemade vanilla essence because it is chemically processed. You may, however, make vanilla extract at home and what you need are clear liquor (vodka preferably), a glass jar or bottle, and vanilla beans. Follow the steps below:
- First, slice the vanilla beans into half and put them inside the bottle or jar and then allow it to submerge inside the alcohol and then cover the bottle.
- You need to allow the vanilla extract to be for a minimum of one month for it to infuse. It will become better the longer it is allowed to sit.
- It is ideal to leave it inside a dark and cool place for a minimum of two months to make sure that the flavor of the vanilla extract is potent and rich.
- The vanilla extract made at home can last for about 3 years and you can even present it as a gift and it is more affordable than buying your vanilla extract in the market.
Can you substitute vanilla extract for vanilla essence and vice versa?
Even though both vanilla extract and vanilla essence are similar products, they both have some things you will have to put into consideration when you want to substitute them for each other. Vanilla extract is considered stronger when compared with vanilla essence, it means if what you have is vanilla extract and your recipe needs vanilla essence, ensure you use a lesser amount than what the recipe needs. In contrast, if what you have in abundance is vanilla essence and what your recipe needs is vanilla extract, use a higher amount of vanilla essence so that you will get the appropriate flavor for what the vanilla extract calls for.
Which is healthier, vanilla extract or vanilla essence?
Vanilla extract has been considered a healthier choice because it is made with high-quality ingredients. There are several chemical and artificial ingredients (petroleum sometimes) that are contained in vanilla essence and even though it will not get you sick, using a vanilla extract that is a more natural product is a healthier choice.