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Try Vanilla Extract in Your Baking

Vanilla extract is simply a sweet solution made from percolating and macerating vanilla pods in water and ethanol. It's considered a natural essential ingredient in a number of Western desserts, particularly brownies, cakes, biscuits, and ice cream, as well as custards, smoothies, soups, juices, and ice creams. Vanilla extract is one of the major flavoring components used in candy. It may also be included in cooking (such as banana pudding, custard, oatmeal cookies, etc. ), as it adds a subtle earthy flavor to many food items.

Maple syrup, another common food additive, has a light, fresh flavor. It doesn't impart the same flavors as other artificial sweeteners, but it doesn't need artificial ingredients to taste good either. Maple syrup can be used in combination with vanilla extract or as a stand-alone sweetener. There are a number of recipes online that use maple syrup as a base for adding flavor to cookies and other baked goods. The Internet also provides numerous recipes using vanilla extract.

For example, one recipe circulating on the Internet calls for three tablespoons of vanilla essence, one and a half cups of water, two tablespoons of maple syrup, and four cups of dry brown rice cereal. The recipe recommends that you bake the cake at 350F for approximately ten minutes before removing the cake from the oven. The cake should still be moist so that the vanilla flavor doesn't run. Then, add the maple syrup and bring the temperature of the cake back down to warm it.

You can also make a light version of banana bread by substituting vanilla extract for maple syrup and adding the bananas, water, and a pinch of vanilla to the dry mix. Alternatively, substitute vanilla extract for Splenda in the baking recipe. The resulting cake has a rich flavor and is easily reduced in weight if you choose to add a little more maple syrup or vanilla. It's also great as an alternative to mousse when baking fudge. 

Another way to incorporate vanilla flavor into your baking is to roast some dried beans and grind them up. The resulting liquor can be added to recipes as a stand-alone flavor or combined with vanilla essence and milk or cream to make a very thick frosting. Don't throw out the old coffee beans because they are full of flavor. In fact, you can use roasted coffee beans in several recipes. For instance, you can use the bean liquor that comes out of the bean pod to make angel cakes and cupcakes or use the beans to make chocolate eclairs.

If you haven't tried pure vanilla extract, you're missing out. The wonderful vanilla aroma and flavor goes well with just about any dessert or cake, whether you opt for white or yellow cake, muffins, custards, or pies. You can even use it to make an excellent base for creating new recipes. For instance, if you try adding vanilla to apple pie, you'll end up with a very sweet, complex cake that pairs beautifully with the apple flavor.