So many variations of vanilla...
December 17, 2011 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Ingredient ratio question...

I have a recipe for koulourakia (Greek braided cookies), my Greek grandmother's favourite cookie. This recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder which, as far as I can tell, is just ground up dried vanilla beans. I can't find vanilla powder, but I can find vanilla beans. How many vanilla beans should I scrape the insides out of to get the same approximate flavour as 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder?
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Is there a reason you wouldn't just grind up beans until you had a 1/2 teaspoon? Or better yet, grind up a bunch. Use what you need and store the remainder for future need. You can use the powder in a number of other recipes, including drink recipes.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:37 AM on December 17, 2011

I thought of grinding them up, but they're not really 'dry'. I think if I tried to grind them, they would just make a clump of vanilla bean paste.
posted by torisaur at 6:41 AM on December 17, 2011

You can dry them in the oven or in dehydrator. You can also use a microwave according to this site

1 teaspoon of extract is equal to 1/2 teaspoon of powder. Not sure if you'd get sufficient flavor from just scraped up beans that weren't dry. Will pure extract work? You could try it. Even if it isn't quite the same you still have warm cookies so no loss there :)
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:47 AM on December 17, 2011

oops! posted too quickly. The rest of the article above says microwaving not very good.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:50 AM on December 17, 2011

I think the scrapings of one bean would be more than sufficient. Fresh vanilla is much more pronounced than vanilla extract. it's also a more complex flavour. You're only looking for half a tsp the scrapings of a fresh bean will be close to that anyway.
posted by Diablevert at 6:53 AM on December 17, 2011

Oh, and if you're not making the cookies right away --- like you're doing them a couple days from now --- you could always measure out the sugar for the cookies and store it and the bean in a ziplock until you're ready to make the recipe. The sugar will become perfumed with vanilla --- it works better the longer you leave it, of course, but I think you'd get some traction even if it was only a couple days.
posted by Diablevert at 6:57 AM on December 17, 2011

Vanilla powder is not just ground up dried vanilla beans! Vanilla powder is vanilla sugar. This is an example of vanilla powder available in the US. Vanilla powder is commonly used in Europe instead of vanilla extract. Normally you would substitute it teaspoon for teaspoon, although I suppose it could vary by brand.
posted by HotToddy at 7:59 AM on December 17, 2011

Please don't dry your beans in the oven! There is no need to make delicious moist vanilla beans dry and shriveled for the sake of grinding them. Depending on the size of your beans, either scrape 1 side of a bean or both sides and that should be fine. Fresh vanilla beans are very potent and a little goes a long way. I think fresh vanilla beans will make the cookies more delicious than vanilla powder or vanilla extract, as well.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 8:09 AM on December 17, 2011

Thanks all! Scrapings of one vanilla bean, it is! (Incidentally, I made some vanilla sugar to give as gifts and I have lots left over, so maybe I'll substitute some of the regular sugar with that as well)
posted by torisaur at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2011

"Incidentally, I made some vanilla sugar to give as gifts and I have lots left over, so maybe I'll substitute some of the regular sugar with that as well"

You can powder it in a food processor. Add a teensy bit of corn starch to keep from clumping.
posted by bz at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2011

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