questionswhat is the best brand of vanilla?

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Hey Jumbo, did you get this on you reputation chart?

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Looks like you're excellent at voting for good questions. You could increase your reputation by asking some questions.

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@moldyearwax: ummmm....
I am purple and I so desperately want to be black again! :)

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@moldyearwax: Seriously...I am in a bit of a rut and I want to increase my rep here at home.

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JR Watkins Pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Organic Extracts

get the biggest bottle you can afford because it never goes bad and winds up being snuck into coffee, cocktales, secretly fixing your serving of a neighbors crappy desert at a potluck so they don't get mad at you for not eating it.

you can also use it as perfume to attract firemen and macho men.

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spent lots of money on vanilla beans, they harden quickly and are a pain to scrape out~I'd go with madross idea.

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Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla.

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@jumbowoot: I've been happy with the Vanilla from my spice sage, but I point out that you are living in an area where you can just go and BUY it. Central Market and Whole Foods will both have fresh product, and asking the person who manages that section (in those stores) might be helpful. I'd probably go for whatever Whole Foods has (because I'm a crazy hippie, that's why), but either place will have higher quality products, and they'll be fresher than anything you can get online.

Here's a fun and entertaining link:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/guides/spices.php

(The vanilla bean is at the bottom of the page; sorry, but you'll have to go to the store to find specific brands.)

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Thank you all.
I'll see what I can whip up.

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@jumbowoot: I'll see what I can whip up.

Perfect ending remark for a question about vanilla.

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Every chef on the Food Network uses real vanilla beans that they cut down the middle and scrape out.
And they always use Kosher Salt.

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@wootfast: One doesn't depend on television personalities for good cooking suggestions. Actually, I note that there's a nice deal for real vanilla beans. It's not for the faint of heart, please. The price is inconsequential, but the shipping might not be.

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/70f62b2f-3393-41db-9664-e77f7944784e/1-tahitian-vanilla-bean

A whole site devoted to just vanilla beans. If I had a heart, it would warm it.

[Edit] Please note that my comment re: TV personalities had more to do with kosher salt than the vanilla beans. Kosher salt is good if you keep kosher. Otherwise, it's indistinguishable from Morton's.

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I don't know about "best," but adequate and plentiful? Costco's vanilla ain't half bad.

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@wootfast: Food Network Chef? PLEASE tell me you weren't referring to Sandra Lee. She's a very attractive woman, but she can ruin a recipe as fast as a truck goes off a cliff.

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@shrdlu: "One doesn't depend on television personalities for good cooking suggestions"...

Really? But I depend on TV personalities for EVERYTHING!!! They tell me what salt to use, how to wear my hair, how to dress, how to save money on a new car, how to worship, how to vote (may be the same as the previous item for a few), and most importantly, that I AM* special!

Long live Oprah!!!

*as long as I spend more money than I have to buy their makeup, magazines; dress/look like them, and watch their shows, etc.

[P.S. Please don't ridicule me as I'm not at all serious - I'm just tired, and thought it was a great leap into American social commentary that so amuses me]

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@shrdlu: Agree with you in general about the salt. The only thing I use it for is to sprinkle on roasted vegetables. I think it holds up better and looks pretty. But as far as taste goes, for me, salt is salt.

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There are fancy salts out there, and some of them are very pretty (I've seen multiple colors), but if it has enough elements to change the flavor, then it's NOT SALT, it's flavored salt (bacon salt, for example, is flavored, albeit heavier than I care for).

Sodium chloride (NaCl). That's it. I got a container of table salt as a gift (from someone who clearly doesn't know me well), and I use it in canning and such. It'll probably last me ten or fifteen years (I don't use much salt). It took me almost eight years just to use the last box of Morton Salt (Iodized, of course), and I cook 98% of the food I eat, and I can, including relishes and pickles.

TV chefs are pretty, that's why they're there. They have good stage presence, they can read the teleprompter, and they can look the camera in the eye, and engage Joe and Geraldine Sixpack.

Julia Child could cook. That was a LONG time ago.

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MySpiceSage is giving away Madagascar vanilla beans with any purchase, for a limited time.

Hey I could have posted that deal.

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@jumbowoot: I just found out that you have Penzeys in Dallas. You have PENZEYS!!! If you do not already have vanilla, you should go there.

12835 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX (972) 392-7777

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/penzeysstores.html

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Nielsen-Massey Vanillas are very good!
I'd like to watch cooking shows, but don't have cable or satellite TV.

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@lavikinga
Sandra Lee's truck off a cliff? I guess thats the 'semi' in semi-homemade.

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The best kind of Vanilla is Vanilla WOW.... or was rather...

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@lavikinga: Did you mention Sandra Lee?
She's at it again. Star of David Angel Food Cake
Not the Kwanzaa cake but just as bad. She used marshmallows.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/star-of-david-angel-food-cake-recipe/index.html

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@klutzyruth: Oh, Sweet Moses, no! Makes me wish I had seen the tablescape that went with this bit of crazy.

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Make your own vanilla. It is the best. Just google, or go to joythebaker.com. She has an easy recipe. Won't work for V-D because it takes 2 months, but it is AWESOME! I make it with Vodka or Rum.

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I support my local spice merchants, who also sell online at http://www.thespicehouse.com/ Don't mistype the URL at work, last time I did, I forgot to add the and ended up at an escort website. I can't comment on the service when ordering online, but I've phoned in orders to pick up at the store and they've always been very helpful on the phone and in store. The only problem with ordering online is you miss out on the fantastic free smells. I go to their Old World Third St. location in Milwaukee and can smell it as I approach.

They have a nice selection of vanilla beans, extracts and sugars that are very tasty. If you have a recipe calling for whole beans, but would like to save some money, the vanilla paste from Nielsen-Massey that they sell has worked great for me. Their site and catalog also does a good job of explaining the different types of extracts and beans, so you can determine which are best suited to your needs.

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Also just a note regarding The Spice House since Penzey's was mentioned above. Both are operated by siblings of the Penzey family. Bill Penzey Jr. struck out on his own and started Penzey's as a mail order business, competing against the family business The Spice House, which is now owned by his sister Patty and her husband.

Julia Child visited the store I go to and brought an entire pound of saffron in a treasure chest, I'd have loved to have seen that.

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I find that Molina Vanilla is the best.

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It's too easy to make your own wonderful, yummy vanilla extract. Buy a good one, and start making some in a glass jar for later!

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It's too easy to make your own wonderful, yummy vanilla extract. Buy a good one, and start making some in a glass jar for later!

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I use the "real" vanilla extract, not the synthetic one (if that's what it's called.) It's worth the extra $ as in any recipe not all that much is used. It's best kept refrigerated once open. Hope that helps.

BTW Jumbo woot, are there coupon codes that people are talking about? I got one from woot once, but not the one they're talking about that has to do with your name. Forgive me as I don't understand the concept. Thank you for information regarding how to get one. We buy often and it would help.