Vanilla Extract – Week 2

I now realize that there will be no surprises with my vanilla extract. More beans equals stronger flavor. Period. After 2 weeks, the results are based entirely upon the amount of beans used in the extract. Recipe #4 (the strongest) is still only 50% of McCormick’s and is now on par with the imitation vanilla. Neither of Chris Kimball’s recipes are doing well; Recipe #2 barely tastes of vanilla, and I declared Recipe #1 a failure last week.

Week 2 Results (the recipes are here):

  • Recipe #1: 0-star. Very weak. Recipe is a failure. Because I filtered it last week it will not improve beyond zero stars. I probably won’t mention it again.
  • Recipe #2: 1 star. Very weak. Barely a hint of vanilla flavor.
  • Recipe #3: Ready on December 1. Not sampled.
  • Recipe #4: 2 star. About 1/2 potency of McCormicks.
  • McCormicks: 4 stars. Classic vanilla flavor, but $4 per ounce. Corn syrup added.
  • Imitation Vanilla: 2 stars. Similar, but off flavor. Made from wood by-products and chemicals. Yuck.

It seems clear at this point that it takes months to make vanilla extract. Chris Kimball’s promise to accomplish it in weeks is pure fallacy.  There is such a discrepancy in these recipe, that I see no point in testing anything again for at least a month.

4 Responses to Vanilla Extract – Week 2

  1. lorri says:

    Agreed – no point in testing for at least a month. Just in time for Thanksgiving holiday baking ; – )

  2. nimbo says:

    I’m in your camp….Kimball’s vanilla extract is terrible. Mine was steeping for 3 months & has less intensity than Captain Morgan rum. I’m going to email them to see if they come clean. Obviously nobody tasted or tested this recipe.

    So I picked up 1/2lb of beans on ebay for $12 and went with the FDA guideline….

    • I haven’t written my final post on this, but the full strength FDA version was still not as strong as McCormick’s. I’m not sure if this is because of the beans I used.

      My intention now (haven’t done it yet) is to double-dunk the extract again in fresh beans. Honestly after 2 months with the same beans they were imparting no additional flavor.


      • nimbo says:

        I’ll keep you posted on my outcome….I’ve got exactly 1/4lb of beans (extract quality; 140 beans per lb) that were split & scraped in 1 quart of 80 proof vodka.

        I agree…the Kimball recipe I brewed up pretty much stayed the same after 2 months. So I just added more beans 🙂

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