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Derived from a mix of different baking ingredients, vanilla muffins are a treat for young and old. Vanilla extract is the primary ingredient that differentiates these types of muffins from traditional, plain muffins. As a longtime favorite flavor across the board, vanilla extract is one of the most commonly used ingredients in baking.
Vanilla extract is used in a variety of different baked goods, including other types of muffins. Vanilla has a strong flavor, but, when it is used in the correct measurements, the spice can enhance the sweetness of sugar in muffins. The amount of the ingredient used in vanilla muffins is exceptionally greater that that of other types of baked desserts.
When choosing a type of vanilla extract for these muffins, a baker might consider choosing pure vanilla. Pure vanilla is more expensive than generic or synthetic vanilla extracts. Bakers generally find that pure vanilla is superior in taste and goes further than synthetic counterparts of the flavor. This can be particularly important when baking vanilla muffins, as it is the intense vanilla flavor that makes them stand out from other baked goods.
Vanilla extract itself is derived from vanilla beans. The beans come from the planifolia plant, a type of orchid that is indigenous to Mexico and Madagascar. The beans were once considered a delicacy, and have since been transformed into different types of vanilla extracts. The right extract is what can make the difference between a good and a great muffin.
There are three types of vanilla extracts that are available in powder, sugar, and liquid form. Liquid vanilla extract is usually the most popular because it is the easiest to use. Bakers might find that the liquid form also gives a more intense flavor when baking vanilla muffins.
Also offering intense flavors are vanilla powder and vanilla sugar. Vanilla powder is generally used for liquid treats, such as coffee. Vanilla sugar is comprised of granulated sugar mixed with broken-down vanilla beans. A baker can perhaps substitute regular sugar in a vanilla muffin recipe in addition to liquid extract for an even more intense vanilla flavor.
Bakers can make their own vanilla sugar right at home by combining granulated sugar and the desired amount of cut vanilla beans. Liquid vanilla extracts are intense on their own, so bakers might use caution when using vanilla sugar and pure liquid vanilla to muffins. The baker may first want to gauge how intense of a vanilla flavor for which he or she is looking.
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