Do you use ground vanilla (or vanilla powder)? How do you use it?
It’s often said that ground vanilla or vanilla powder is good for baking. As I tried to develop a vanilla-cardamom cake, I realized that I really don’t like ground vanilla…
- There’s no way to know what quality of vanilla bean is used to make ground vanilla. Even “grade A” seems to encompass an increasingly wide range of qualities.
- Vanilla pods are very fibrous. That’s why recipes call for extract, caviar, or steeped pods. I find that ground vanilla remains fibrous after cooking, often increasing in bulk, leaving unpleasing fiber chunks.
- Vanilla powder changes the texture, or crumb, of delicate desserts. The fibers can weigh down flour based desserts, creating an unpleasant mouth feel. According to my taste tester: “I bite down on juicy string bits, like orange juice pulp”. Not what you want in a delicate vanilla-cardamom cake.
How do you use it?