Ever wondered how to make your own sugar free vanilla paste?
I did. It was always a mission trying to find good vanilla extract and good vanilla paste that didn’t cost the earth, never mind trying to find an organic AND sugar-free one. Then it dawned on me that if I could make my own stevia extract, peppermint extract, lemon extract, orange extract, and so on, I should be able to make my own keto-friendly vanilla extract as well!
My method is the same no matter what flavour extract I want to obtain: main ingredient + alcohol. For any type of extract, the only drawback is that you mustn’t be in a hurry. Time is required for the strongest and best flavour to come through: the longer you wait, the better the result.
Delighted with my natural, homemade vanilla extract, it was inevitable that I would also want to make my own vanilla paste. Vanilla paste adds texture and bulk, so it is a better choice for some recipes. I use both my extract and my paste all the time now and I would never go back to shop-bought ones!
How did I figure out how to make it?
I simply noticed that all brands of vanilla paste listed glycerine (glycerol) as the main ingredient. My keto kitchen adventures mainly involve the use of erythritol and stevia as sweeteners, because these two came up best out of all the sugar substitutes I researched, in terms of taste, flavour, reactivity to other ingredients and tolerance. Glycerine didn’t score very high on my ‘sugar replacement’ chart and I would not use it ordinarily. BUT, it is a polyol (sugar alcohol), it is fairly sweet, it is viscous and, let’s face it, you only need 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste for a whole big fat cake, so why not?
Vanilla extract or vanilla paste?
Well, that really depends on the recipe and on your own personal taste. Homemade vanilla extract is very strong until it matures with time, so it can impart a slight alcoholic taste that isn’t always appropriate. With the vanilla paste, however, you don’t have this problem.
To make your own vanilla paste you will need vanilla pods (you can either buy fresh ones or re-utilise discarded ones from your extract), vegetable (food grade) glycerine + either a little vodka or a little homemade vanilla extract. The process is very simple and quick: just cut open the pods, chop them up into small pieces and place them in the food processor together with glycerine, vanilla extract or vodka, then blitz until smooth. Finally, strain through a fine sieve and store in a sealable jar in the fridge. You will have plenty and it will last AGES.
- slice vanilla beans lengthways and chop them up.
- place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
- pour onto a fine mesh strain over a sealable jar, pressing well until no more liquid runs out.
- keep refrigerated and stir before each use.
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