• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
prasantrin

essence vs oil vs extract

9 posts in this topic

I thought I had asked this question before, but despite several searches, I have yet to find the answer.

I wanted to make peppermint-flavoured sweets. I'm starting with peppermint caramels, then moving onto chocolate peppermint cookies or brownies or similar. Most recipes I've found call for peppermint extract, but I cannot find any--online or in stores--in Japan. However, I can find peppermint essence.

If I substitute an essence for an extract, would I just do a 1:1 substitution, or is there a big difference between the two? For example, a cookie recipe I found calls for 3/4 tsp peppermint extract, so I thought I'd just use 3/4 tsp. peppermint essence. The only problem is, my bottle is terribly small (27mL) and fairly expensive given its size (about US$5), so I'm hoping to cut down on the quantity.

In my imagination, when I previously asked this question, Wendy DeBord mentioned something about alcohol content or flavour concentration or something like that. I don't know any of the numbers for a standard peppermint extract, but my bottle of peppermint essence says 0.5% flavouring (I think--it's in Japanese) and 55% ethanol. It was the only bottle of peppermint anything (other than creme de menthe) I could find after much searching.

And how do oils fit in? I would imagine an oil would be more concentrated, so I would use less of it. Does that sound right? If a recipe called for 1 tsp. of extract, or 1 tsp. of essence, how much oil would I use? If I can ever find any, that is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope Kerry Beal will chime in and give you better answers but I have both peppermint oil and peppermint extract - the oil is 3-4 times more expensive than the extract and much more potent. I do not know how to convert quantities from one to another.

In the meantime, you might find this link helpful.

Edited to add link.


Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the essence and extract should be fairly interchangable. When I've brought back flavourings labelled 'essence' from Barbadoes and opened them, they seem to be alcohol based and about the strength I would associated with extract.

Oil is much stronger and you start with a drop or two, tasting as you go along until you get the flavour you are after. Of course this is a bit difficult with caramel as it is generally pretty hot at this point. With my standard batch of caramel I think I add about 5 drops of peppermint oil to get just a nice warm minty flavour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that was an excellent article, Anna--I enjoyed reading it.

I think peppermint essence and extract are most likely the same thing--I believe essence is the British term for extract--and so are interchangeable for use.

(oops, posting at the same time as Kerry!)


Edited by zoe b (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! The WP article was very useful--why didn't I find it? (And I searched for a loooooong time!)

In my research, I found that most recipes calling for essence were from the UK, while most extract ones were US, so I suspected they might be interchangeable.

Last night I made some hot chocolate and added exactly three drops of the essence--barely any peppermint flavour at all, so it's definitely not as strong as oil. I guess Japanese don't like peppermint too much, though, because my peppermint essence bottle only has a teeny hole and must be administered in drops rather than spoonfuls. :unsure:

Thanks again, and I'm making caramels tonight! :smile:


Edited by prasantrin (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a very general rule, I use 2 drops of essence to 1 drop of oil when converting - but tasting as you go is always better if possible

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mmmmmmm...peppermint caramels!

I ended up using about 1.5 tsp of peppermint essence for about 2/3 batch of caramel (used Kerry's recipe, and I was aiming for half-batches, but I screwed up a bit when I was pouring it out), and I think it's perfect!

Next time I'm going to try my yuzu essence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mmmmmmm...peppermint caramels!

I ended up using about 1.5 tsp of peppermint essence for about 2/3 batch of caramel (used Kerry's recipe, and I was aiming for half-batches, but I screwed up a bit when I was pouring it out), and I think it's perfect! 

Next time I'm going to try my yuzu essence.

I'll be interested in knowing how that turns out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.