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Alternative to gift of homemade vanilla extract?


Sony
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Hello all,

Have placed an order of vanilla beans to start making homemade vanilla extract for holiday gifts. (Will be my 1st time trying this out! But that's a story for the homemade vanilla extract thread....)

One of my colleagues has a spouse who is a recovering alcoholic (which means traditional vanilla extract recipes are out). She herself is a diabetic, and though she does use sugar, I feel like this isn't the most useful gift for her.

Has anyone made non-alcoholic vanilla extract using food-grade glycerin? Might give that a shot....

Vanilla salt is probably a little out there for their tastes.

What other ideas do you have? Would prefer to give something shelf stable that can be used over time (instead of a cake or batch of creme anglaise). Thanks!

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There's actually some pretty good info in the vanilla extract thread on alcohol-free extract. Two key terms to search for are "glycerine" and "paste". Good luck! (Edit: I suspect you already searched, but "glycerin" doesn't turn up any results, whereas "glycerine", spelled thusly, does.)

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Vanilla sugar?

Although one can never have enough crystallized ginger, preferably dipped in dark chocolate. :wub:

Ooops, almost forget chocolate-dipped candied citrus peels.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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There's actually some pretty good info in the vanilla extract thread on alcohol-free extract. Two key terms to search for are "glycerine" and "paste". Good luck! (Edit: I suspect you already searched, but "glycerin" doesn't turn up any results, whereas "glycerine", spelled thusly, does.)

Aha! Thanks for being a personal spell check, mkayahara. :)

I might clarify that I'd like to make something that incorporates the vanilla beans if possible....but will keep the lovely suggestions of crystallized ginger and candied peels in my pocket, just in case. (as well as other great suggestions on the artisanal gifts thread).

I realize that vanilla foodstuffs are typically going to be sweet, but somehow feel weird giving a present of sugar to a person who has diabetes. (Though I know full well that she manages her condition well and enjoys her sweets on occasion, she doesn't like to partake a lot and she's mentioned before that the overwhelming array of sweets during the holidays is challenging to her.)

Sorry I wasn't more clear before about incorporating vanilla and the consideration of the sugar idea. Will definitely look more into using glycerinE as a solvent....

Another idea I just thought of was using the vanilla pods to permeate some good coffee beans ? She does grind her own beans in batches, so she would use the gift several times, I think.....

Edited by Sony (log)
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Another idea I just thought of was using the vanilla pods to permeate some good coffee beans ? She does grind her own beans in batches, so she would use the gift several times, I think.....

Not sure whether you are a coffee drinker... but speaking from a personal note, most coffee people that I know would prefer their beans "straight", rather than infused.

Sorry I don't have any other suggestions, though.

Karen Dar Woon

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There's actually some pretty good info in the vanilla extract thread on alcohol-free extract. Two key terms to search for are "glycerine" and "paste". Good luck! (Edit: I suspect you already searched, but "glycerin" doesn't turn up any results, whereas "glycerine", spelled thusly, does.)

Aha! Thanks for being a personal spell check, mkayahara. :)

I might clarify that I'd like to make something that incorporates the vanilla beans if possible....but will keep the lovely suggestions of crystallized ginger and candied peels in my pocket, just in case. (as well as other great suggestions on the artisanal gifts thread).

I realize that vanilla foodstuffs are typically going to be sweet, but somehow feel weird giving a present of sugar to a person who has diabetes. (Though I know full well that she manages her condition well and enjoys her sweets on occasion, she doesn't like to partake a lot and she's mentioned before that the overwhelming array of sweets during the holidays is challenging to her.)

Sorry I wasn't more clear before about incorporating vanilla and the consideration of the sugar idea. Will definitely look more into using glycerinE as a solvent....

Another idea I just thought of was using the vanilla pods to permeate some good coffee beans ? She does grind her own beans in batches, so she would use the gift several times, I think.....

Does she bake with Splenda (where's that buggery little 'r' thing when you need it? :blink: ) at all? You might try infusing the granular form with vanilla bean? HTH!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Another idea I just thought of was using the vanilla pods to permeate some good coffee beans ? She does grind her own beans in batches, so she would use the gift several times, I think.....

Not sure whether you are a coffee drinker... but speaking from a personal note, most coffee people that I know would prefer their beans "straight", rather than infused.

Sorry I don't have any other suggestions, though.

Not a coffee drinker myself, unfortunately....

She does drink flavored coffees (hazelnut, vanilla, etc.)when we've gone to cafes, but you're right, she might prefer "straight" beans when she's making it herself, especially if it's high-quality stuff.

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How about flavored vinegar instead of extract?  While vanilla might be an odd choice, you could substitute fresh herbs.  Or make vanilla sachets suitable for hanging in a closet or tucking inside folded sheets.

Hmmm....I wonder how she would receive vanilla balsamic vinegar? She was talking this summer about liking balsamic-macerated strawberries. Maybe the infused vinegar plus a bag of strawberries I froze this summer.....

You know, maybe she gets something totally different from everyone else. :) My hope was to give somewhat "equivalent" gifts to everyone, but that doesn't have to be the case, especially since there are so many other great ideas out there!

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There's actually some pretty good info in the vanilla extract thread on alcohol-free extract. Two key terms to search for are "glycerine" and "paste". Good luck! (Edit: I suspect you already searched, but "glycerin" doesn't turn up any results, whereas "glycerine", spelled thusly, does.)

Aha! Thanks for being a personal spell check, mkayahara. :)

I might clarify that I'd like to make something that incorporates the vanilla beans if possible....but will keep the lovely suggestions of crystallized ginger and candied peels in my pocket, just in case. (as well as other great suggestions on the artisanal gifts thread).

I realize that vanilla foodstuffs are typically going to be sweet, but somehow feel weird giving a present of sugar to a person who has diabetes. (Though I know full well that she manages her condition well and enjoys her sweets on occasion, she doesn't like to partake a lot and she's mentioned before that the overwhelming array of sweets during the holidays is challenging to her.)

Sorry I wasn't more clear before about incorporating vanilla and the consideration of the sugar idea. Will definitely look more into using glycerinE as a solvent....

Another idea I just thought of was using the vanilla pods to permeate some good coffee beans ? She does grind her own beans in batches, so she would use the gift several times, I think.....

If you go to post # 108 in the vanilla extract topic, you will see a note about xylitol - a sugar "alcohol" - not a true alcohol and it is considered halal.

This liquid will extract the essential flavorings from chopped vanilla beans with less heating and effort than required with glycerin or glycerine :rolleyes: .

The process is similar to alcohol extraction except that you do need to give it a kick start by heating the mixture after it has been combined for a few days and after three or four months you add an equal part hot water, allow this to set for a couple of weeks, then strain off the liquid and use it in something to test how strong it is.

Or you can prepare the vanilla paste, which I describe in that post. It keeps very well.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a diabetic, I wouldn't be offended by a gift of vanilla sugar. There's room in our lifestyle for sugar, in fact it's quite necessary, in moderation. There's tons of great ideas here, but in case you come up blank, it would probably be ok. Especially if you tucked it in with some nice (non infused) coffee or something.

Edited by Lilija (log)
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I am also a diabetic and I also use sugar in moderation.

I have a container of the Splenda/Sugar Blend http://www.splenda.com/page.jhtml?id=splenda/products/blend.inc that contains vanilla beans and I use this for many other applications than just baking.

I also use it in a cinnamon/sugar shaker to go on toast or other things that require a dash of flavor on top and in my opinion the addition of vanilla enhances the flavor of the cinnamon. Splenda alone will take on some vanilla flavor but the sugar blend does it much better and the vanilla flavor is more pronounced.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am also a diabetic and I also use sugar in moderation.

I have a container of the Splenda/Sugar Blend http://www.splenda.com/page.jhtml?id=splenda/products/blend.inc that contains vanilla beans and I use this for many other applications than just baking.

I also use it in a cinnamon/sugar shaker to go on toast or other things that require a dash of flavor on top and in my opinion the addition of vanilla enhances the flavor of the cinnamon. Splenda alone will take on some vanilla flavor but the sugar blend does it much better and the vanilla flavor is more pronounced.

Thanks- it's good to be reminded that sugar is OK or a person with diabetes. I certainly don't pause when passing her a dinner roll before a pasta dinner....as I said, she's got things under control and it's not my job to play food police.

I said I felt weird giving sugar....but it's more because I don't think she really uses sugar (or use alternative sweeteners) very much (likely as a result of having diabetes, but I can't be sure). She doesn't bake much (which means that extract might not be the most useful gift for her anyway), make sweets, or take sugar in her coffee/tea. It might have been just as well for me to say that she doesn't care to have sweets, and leave out the issue of diabetes! :smile:

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