Cooking Well: 10 Most Delicious Vanilla Extract Uses

There is no flavor that’s as classic as vanilla. It’s a staple in baking and all your favorite delicious sweets. But vanilla extract isn’t just for your baked goods; it has many other uses around your kitchen.

Vanilla extract can add an additional layer of flavor to your cooking. If you love vanilla in your treat but want to try something new, find out what else vanilla can enhance. Here are 10 vanilla extract uses you never knew.

1.  Make a Brown Butter Sauce

Is there anything that sounds more delicious than a brown butter sauce? This toffee-like sauce is a little sweet and a little savory. This delicious sauce is great on all your savory dishes, especially for Fall.

Use this sauce on a squash pasta with sage. Or add the sauce to some popcorn for a snack.

2.  Try Something Tropical

Vanilla goes great with tropical flavors. Since it’s a tropical ingredient itself, vanilla complements coconut, mango, passionfruit, and pineapple. You can add these flavors to sweet and savory dishes to add some depth.

For a meal, a coconut curry shrimp is a great option. After dinner, try a vanilla and passionfruit cake as a tropical treat.

3.  Maple Glazes

Maple is a classic flavor itself. Add vanilla and the flavor together is unstoppable. As sweet as the recipe sounds, you can use it in savory dishes as well.

Start the day off deliciously with a maple glaze over blueberry pancakes. Or try a ham glazed with maple.

4.  Sweeten Some Cocktails

A cocktail with a twist. Vanilla is a great way to balance tartness in a cocktail. It can add another level of flavor to make your cocktails taste fancier and more artisan.

You can make vanilla fruity with an orange-vanilla martini. Or add it to something a little bit spicy like a warm spiced cocktail.

5.  Homemade Vanilla Extract

With all these delicious new recipes, you’re going to need a whole lot of vanilla extract. Instead of buying a new bottle every time you’re at a grocery store, you can make your own at home.

Homemade vanilla extract is actually pretty simple. You only need two ingredients, glass bottles, and about 5 minutes. After tasting your own homemade version, you may never want to buy regular vanilla extract again.

6.  Flavor Your Milk

You’ve heard of chocolate milk, why not vanilla? Vanilla milk is a great alternative to some of your recipes. You can add vanilla extract to almond, oat, soy, or regular milk.

Add your flavored milk to oatmeal and cereals. You can also use flavored milk in hot cocoa, coffee, and tea. For kids, warm milk with honey can help put them to sleep.

You can also make your own flavored milk entirely from scratch. Recipes for homemade almond milk are plentiful and easy to follow. Adding vanilla to that homemade recipe will add a unique twist you’re sure to love.

7.  Vanilla Bean Sugar

Vanilla bean sugar is a simple recipe. Rather than buy a bag from the store, you can make some yourself at home. Infuse granulated sugar with vanilla bean for a delicious and versatile homemade sugar you can use around the kitchen.

You can substitute regular sugar with your vanilla bean sugar in your everyday foods like coffee, cupcakes, and sugar cookies. You can use it as decoration on pies and tarts. And, if you’re adventurous, try making a crème brulee with this fancy sugar.

8.  Use it With Wine Braises

If you love that delicious taste and warm aroma of braised meats, then adding vanilla might be able to enhance your favorite recipes. The low and slow method of braizing tenderizes large cut of meat and fibrous vegetables.

Braising meat with red wine is a popular method. Using vanilla can add richness and a deeper flavor to your wine braise.

Try a vanilla red wine braise on short ribs or tri-tip steaks. Carmelizing your vegetables with a wine braise can be a great side dish to your meals. Cauliflower, potatoes, and carrots are great bases, and braised pears make a great dessert.

9.  Vanilla in Sodas

Vanilla can be refreshing, too, if you add it to a homemade soda. A vanilla cream soda is a delicious drink you can make a home. Vanilla extract is a key ingredient for these refreshing beverages, and you can make a variety of sodas flavors easily.

Cherry vanilla soda is an artisan flavor you would usually have to by at a specialty shop. Another great option is a vanilla cream soda, a classic flavor that’s making a return. Impress your friends with the best soda they’ve ever tasted—yours.

10. Stir Up Some Dipping Sauces

There’s no food that wouldn’t go well with a side of a delicious dipping sauce. Homemade sauces are a great way to get creative with ingredients and test out different flavors. Play around and make both sweet and savory dipping sauces.

A vanilla dipping sauce would be a great addition to desserts like doughnuts sticks, cinnamon pretzels, and fruits. For savory dishes, try a bit of vanilla in soy sauce, vinaigrettes, and barbecue sauces. These will pair well with fried chicken and fish.

Try Your Own Vanilla Extract Uses

Not only does vanilla give your favorite sweet treats their yummy taste, but it can also enhance the flavor all over the kitchen. Vanilla can enhance your cocktails and drinks. Add it to savory dishes for a unique depth of flavor.

More than just a baked good, use vanilla everywhere in your kitchen. What vanilla extract uses are you going to try?

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