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Old 08-07-2007, 08:02 PM   #1
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Question Vanilla Essence VS Imitation Vanilla Essence

OK, hopefully not a really stupid question, but in your opinion, if, say a muffin recipe said to use Vanilla Essence and you use Imitation Vanilla Essence, how different/bad/not a good idea is it? Same goes for a cake or something similar. I don't have a recipe atm, but in general. Would it be a crime to use imitation?

How big of a difference is it?

thanks

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Old 08-07-2007, 08:18 PM   #2
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Rom, not meaning to burst anyone's bubble, but I never use imitation vanilla. Actually, I use my own homemade vanilla. I think the imitation stuff is wimpy and can't stand up to the "real" thing.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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Rom,
I'm with Katie here. I adore the flavor of vanilla and so do my grand kids. So, while I don't make my own, I do buy one that is a little high priced, but the taste and the flavor are so wonderful..I make the kids french toast pretty often and one morning forgot the vanilla, and all of them thought their moms had made the meal and asked for ma's toast So it's well worth the money to me...I do find that the imitation needs to be doubled to even come close in smell and flavor to the real thing, and after the first bite, the taste diminishes. NOw this is just my feelings, others may not feel this way..We all like different things and amounts of them.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:57 PM   #4
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I'm with Katie E and kadesma--go with the real extract. For anything fresh, I go for scraping the pods.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for that, i was wondering why the imitation bottle was like triple the size of the actual stuff lol
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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Where I live there is a huge Maexican/latin population all good citizens
and I buy my Vanilla from them and it is very good.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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Some Cooks Illustrated taste testers preferred imitation vanilla extract!

From CI: "Most participants in that tasting, including pastry chefs and baking experts, couldn't tell the difference between imitation vanilla and the real thing: pure vanilla extract. Even though we have repeated that tasting and gotten the same results, we've never quite overcome our disbelief.... Despite the widespread hue and cry in the food world about the inferiority of imitation vanilla-experts agree that it lacks the flavor nuances and subtleties of pure vanilla extract-our tasters found it to be perfectly acceptable in cake and custard. The imitation vanillas earned high enough scores to be recommended alongside all of the pure vanillas. In fact, every extract we tasted scored its way into the "recommended" category of the chart on page 27."


McCormick Imitation -- "Some tasters picked up on a “very smooth” and “rich, round flavor,”while others complained that the flavor was “off,” “bland,”and “lacked depth.” Its supporters were more numerous, though,as evidenced by a strong rating."



Nielsen-Massey -- "Here again we ran into the problem of a very perfumed yet delicately flavored vanilla extract. It was “completely inoffensive” to some, and “plain,” with “not much nuance,” to others. Any subtle characteristics it might have displayed were completely lost in the yellow cake."



I personally think imitation vanilla extract is fine in some things, esp. baked goods.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hutchins
Where I live there is a huge Maexican/latin population all good citizens
and I buy my Vanilla from them and it is very good.

Very cheap vanilla from Mexico can be poisonous, so be careful

Mexican Vanilla
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:56 AM   #9
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According to my resident "chemist" Imitation vanilla is the exact same as pure vanilla chemically! Pure vanilla has other "stuff" in it from the bean, but the part from the bean that gives it it's taste is exactly duplicated in the imitation
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
According to my resident "chemist" Imitation vanilla is the exact same as pure vanilla chemically! Pure vanilla has other "stuff" in it from the bean, but the part from the bean that gives it it's taste is exactly duplicated in the imitation
Yes, the Ci article went into this, as well. "On the molecular level, this synthetic vanillin is indistinguishable from natural vanillin: "
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