Many recipes call for the use of vanilla extract which is easily found in every grocery store. A lesser known alternative to vanilla extract is vanilla powder, which is made by grinding dried vanilla beans. Vanilla powder is more potent than its extract cousin and does not contain any alcohol allowing it to be added to warm liquids, such as coffee and tea without evaporating. Although vanilla powder is not as widely available as vanilla extract, many specialty stores and online shops do carry the ingredient.
Purchase vanilla powder from a specialty grocery store or online. Vanilla powder is comprised of ground vanilla beans, while sweetened vanilla powder is ground sugar mixed with vanilla extract. Choose the type your recipe according to your recipe. If you are substituting vanilla powder for vanilla extract, purchase pure vanilla powder rather than the sweetened variety.
Follow your recipe and add the requested amount of vanilla powder. If you are substituting vanilla powder for vanilla extract, use half of the called for amount. For example, a recipe that calls for 1 tsp. of vanilla extract would need only ½ tsp. of vanilla powder.
Store the unused vanilla powder in an airtight container away from extreme temperatures or moisture. Unlike vanilla extract, when stored properly vanilla powder never spoils.
You can make your own vanilla powder at home by processing dried vanilla beans in a coffee grinder. Drier vanilla beans make for a more powdery end result. Because it does not contain any alcohol, the flavor of vanilla powder is not affected by prolonged cooking times. Try using vanilla powder in white icings to prevent the color tint caused by using dark vanilla extract. Sprinkle vanilla powder directly onto waffles, oatmeal, fruit and other foods to quickly add a rich vanilla flavor to your meal. Because it dissolves quickly and does not contain any alcohol, vanilla powder makes an ideal addition to hot drinks such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
Christine Argier began writing in 2004 and is backed by more than six years of experience working in the IT field. She holds CompTIA A+ and Green IT certifications and is also a Microsoft Office Master Specialist certified at the expert level in both Microsoft Word and Excel. Argier is currently working toward finalizing her CompTIA Technical Trainer certification (CTT+) and Adobe Certified Expert accreditation (ACE).