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Dec 6, 2006 03:07 AM

Return of the Trader Joe's vanilla paste

A few years ago TJ's had these great jars of vanilla bean paste, just like vanilla extract but with the bonus of all those sexy vanilla flecks. I unwisely fell in love with it but then, like so many of us TJ's lovers do, got burned when it disappeared from the shelves without even a parting glance. I'd look everytime I went, ask friends if they'd seen vanilla paste, even stoop to asking the staff, but for years there was nothing, not a trace. Then last month when I'd finally given up hope, thrown out that empty old jar that still smelled so good and moved on, there it was, back on the shelf, as lovely as ever. Trader Joe's vanilla paste, all is forgiven, I know this time you're going to stay forever, right? RIGHT??

Vital information: It's $5 for a 4 ounce jar, the ingredient list is identical to the Nielsen-Massey jar which goes for about $12 (also for 4 ounces) -- I assume it IS Nielsen-Massey, just repackaged. It's less a substitute for real vanilla beans than a really nice alternative to vanilla extract, especially when you want the flecks to show up in the final product.

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  1. Yay, we love this stuff.

    Is it possible the return is for the "holiday baking season" and just doesn't sell at TJ year-round, like their fancy packaged Belgian chocolates etc. which only show up for the holidays? If so, stock up, I'm sure this stuff lasts for years in the jar.

    1. I have a bottle of this paste - what is it particularly good for?

      1 Reply
      1. re: jen kalb

        It is a really fabulous addition to homemade vanilla ice cream. It is also great in vanilla puddings or custards, perhaps creme brulee. It would probably be good in baked goods as well, but the flecks of the bean in the paste show up much better in a custardy type of item. I think it is the same as the Nielson-Massey (same consistency and taste), probably just packaged for TJ's.

      2. Wow - I just used the last of mine tonight and was sad. Then I logged in and saw this thread. Yay - I'm going to look for it tomorrow!

        2 Replies
        1. re: RoxyGrl

          Well I went to Trader Joe's yesterday and looked everywhere and did not see the vanilla paste. My friend, who lives nowhere near a Trader Joe's, want some. Any one else find it there?

          1. re: chinaberry28

            It has been seasonal, for Christmas baking, as mentioned above. Be patient. It is only September...

        2. i haven't tried this stuff yet but i also found it at a more reliable, year-round supply :)

          can't wait to try it it ice cream...or rice pudding? mmmm!