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Old 10-05-2006, 11:31 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Actually, Everclear is over-kill ... at 95% Ethanol (grain alcohol) = 190 Proof. It is illegal in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Washington, California, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Virginia and West Virginia (and that might not be a complete list) ... although some of those states may allow the sale of the "low octane" 151 -Proof (75.5%).

It may be overkill but it's the only flavorless alcohol safe for consumption available for retail purchase that I know of. Vodka has a distict taste that -- to my palate -- ruins the vanilla.

Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:47 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by jennyema
It may be overkill but it's the only flavorless alcohol safe for consumption available for retail purchase that I know of. Vodka has a distict taste that -- to my palate -- ruins the vanilla.
I tend to agree.... and I can't conceive of making it with bourbon either as Michael suggests. I don't like any sort of whiskey, and I can't imagine that the vanilla would completely cover up the taste of the liquor.

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Old 10-06-2006, 09:30 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by jennyema
Never use the really cheap stuff from Mexico, as it often contains Coumarin, which is toxic.
uh oh... i live in houston and do a LOT of shopping at Fiesta, so...
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:22 PM   #64
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I have used Trader Joe's vanilla and Penzey's vanilla (my current bottle). I have been happy with it, but never considered the "added" sugar aspect to it. I may check out the Neilsen brand, but I'll wait until I run out of the Penzey's stuff... a while since I don't use it that much.

Side note, I may be going to Torrance, CA on Thursday for a book signing, and I suddenly recalled the other day that Penzey's newest store is there!!! I get to go to Penzey's again!!! Yay!
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Old 10-09-2006, 05:31 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by RPCookin
It's also used for making such delights as limoncello, an Italian dessert liqueur. You put strips of lemon zest in a bottle of grain alcohol, leave it to soak for a couple of months, then strain out the peels and cut it with sugar water to taste. Like vodka, you store it in the freezer and serve it very cold. Done right, it's like liquid lemon drops, but with a kick...
I have to enthusiastically agree with RP here and respectfully disagree with Michael in FtW. HH bought Everclear for me in Pennsylvania to make my limoncello because it's not available here in VA.
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Old 10-09-2006, 07:19 PM   #66
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I just got some of that Neilsen-Massey vanilla (my grandmother brought me home some today) and I was suprised. I'd just asked her not to get imitation vanilla or vanilla flavoring. But she was at Williams-Sonoma and picked some up. She's usually pretty thrifty, so that suprised me.
It made me think of this discussion though.
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Old 10-09-2006, 08:37 PM   #67
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Just for the record (again)...

Buy the real thing. A vanilla pod. You will never regret it!!
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:06 AM   #68
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I buy pure vanilla. I do not like the Mexican vanilla. It has a flavor I don't like
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Old 10-14-2006, 01:22 AM   #69
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Before some of you start casting votes to have me hauled off to the funny farm in a fancy white jacket where the sleeves tie in back:

I actually found recipes in 3 old (pre-1930) Southern cookbooks for making homemade vanilla extract that called for using bourbon. As far-fetched as this sounds (I thought it odd, too, at first) if you read Harold McGee's book On Food and Cooking ... it appears that our Southern ancestors were on to something since bourbon actually develops some vanilla flavors during aging that both reinforce and enhance the vanilla flavors. Remember, the flavor of natural vanilla is a combination of something like 200+ different flavors - which is why imitation vanilla can't match the flavor (depth) of the real thing since they only imitate the primary predominant vanillan flavor.

For those who don't understand what Everclear is - it's basically unaged corn liquor which is distilled to get the highest octane possible. In the South - this would have been known in olden days as "corn liquor", "moonshine", or "white lightening". Unlike vodka it does have a more neutral flavor because it is distilled to a much purer degree of alcohol (95% vs 50% for Vodka) so it has less flavors from residual "impurities".

The dichotomy is that the higher the alcohol content of the "extraction" liquid the greater the extraction %/rate - and the higher the alcohol % of the extraction liquid the greater the flavor loss during baking! The vanilla that professional bakers use, from what I have been able to find, is 8.5% alcohol and fortified with artificial vanillan flavoring, or they use "powdered" flavorings.

I'll admit that I might be crazy - but I'm not certifiably insane, yet!
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 10-14-2006, 02:36 AM   #70
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I bought some vanilla in Mexico. Brand name TOTONAC’S
The label read; (for what it’s worth) Water, Alcohol, Vanilla Bean extractives. 500 ml
Note: This product does not contain Coumarin.
This Vanilla has the brown color.
Cost about $10.00

Another bottle, I bought and have used all of it, was white, It had a mild taste that was close to the Vanilla I’ve used in the past. (McCormicks)

Looking at the label on a bottle of McCormick’s “PURE VANILLA”,
Vanilla Bean extractives in water, Alcohol 35%, and Corn Syrup.
118 ml about $8.00.

Doing my own taste test the Mexican vanilla had the vanilla taste, but was a little watery, very faint alcohol taste.
The McCormick’s had a much stronger Vanilla taste, the alcohol was stinging on the tongue, No hint of a corn syrup or sweet taste.


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