Q: What is Vanilla Bean powder?
Vanilla bean powder is pure, unadulterated vanilla bean derived from the pod of the orchid flower. It is sweet and creamy and offers a robust and often fragrant flavour which is why it is commonly used in baking, teas and desserts.
When it comes to cooking vanilla is arguably one of, if not the most popular flavour (I’m slightly biased). Fresh vanilla beans are often difficult (and expensive) to come by which is why it is always a good idea to have some on vanilla bean powder on hand for your next bake.
What is vanilla bean?
Grown on orchids in tropical locations like Hawaii, Mexico, Tahiti, Madagascar and Indonesia vanilla beans are picked when they're green before undergoing a lengthy curing process which develops their dark colour and rich flavour. Inside these beans (or pods) are vanilla seeds.
How is vanilla bean powder made?
Quite a lengthy process is involved to make vanilla bean powder. Firstly, the vanilla beans are picked and dried before being ground into a fine powder. To ensure your vanilla bean powder is authentic check the ingredients list, it should read finely ground vanilla beans and nothing else.
Vanilla bean powder is extremely strong so use in moderation, two grams of powder is equivalent to one whole vanilla bean.
Vanilla extract, on the other hand, uses alcohol as a solvent and vanilla paste is often formed by mixing vanilla beans, glycerin and water.
What is vanilla bean powder used for?
Vanilla bean powder is most commonly used in baking, use a small amount to flavour your favourite cake, biscuit or sweet treat. People also enjoy adding it to tea and coffee for a sweet, aromatic flavour. For something, a little whacko try corn and vanilla.
What does it taste like?
Vanilla is a sweet and creamy flavour.
What is a vanilla powder substitute?
A great substitute for vanilla bean powder is any of the other vanilla products such as beans, pods and vanilla essence. To substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder use 4-6 drops of vanilla essence. If you don’t have any vanilla flavours almond extract would be the closest non-vanilla substitute.
Where can you buy it?
You can buy vanilla bean powder from a variety of specialty stores, or online.
The Source Bulk Foods Organic Vanilla Bean Powder, shop now
Loving Earth Vanilla Bean Powder, shop now
Here are our favourite vanilla recipes.
Vanilla bean panna cotta with orange
A lovely vanilla flavoured, creamy panna cotta topped with sweetened navel oranges. Get the full recipe.
This simply delicious cake is perfect to have on hand when friends drop by. Get the full recipe.