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Nov 2, 2008 07:41 AM

Mexican vanilla...

Someone gave us a bottle of Mexican vanilla as a gift. We also bought a new Cuisinart stand mixer recently. We would like to use the new mixer and the new vanilla to make some delicious baked goods, but have just started on a new diet! And I absolutely *hate* sugar substitutes!

Does anyone know of any recipes that wouldn't be too terrible? My wife will let me slide some on the calorie thing, but only a little!

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  1. Many biscotti recipes are relatively benign, diet-wise. Anything meringue-y should be okay too (with respect to fat, not sugar). Is it the fat, sugar, or both that you are trying to cut back on?

    1. Mix some of your vanilla into whipped cream and put it on some berries.

        1. My favorite flavour is vanilla; I use at least one vanilla bean a week. During the holidays I go through a dozen of more. Vanilla is native to Central America, and the Aztecs used vanilla and cocoa beans before the arrival of Europeans.

          What has happen over the years is that Mexican vanilla has fallen out of favor due to all the cheap imitations. Unfortunately you need be carful with vanilla extract, special from Mexico. Quite often the cheaper Mexican vanilla extract has Coumarin in it, which is harmful. You can find some info on Coumarin here

          Nielsen Massey does sell Mexican vanilla extract. Imho they make the best vanilla extract, though I rarely ever use extract.

          When ever a family member heads down to Mexico I end up getting a bottle or two of Mexican vanilla extract. Unless I’m 100% sure that the vanilla extract does not contain Coumarin I end up not using it.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Pastryrocks

            Generally, not always, Mexican vanilla with coumarin, will be called vanillin, not vanilla. Bought a couple large bottles last time in Mexico, and it is still fabulous.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              Without a doubt I’m sure that there is fine vanilla extract to be found in Mexico. I don’t wish to knock Mexican vanilla extract, or even extract. But unfortunately as you pointed out “Generally, not always,” this is the issue.

              Sitting in a doctors office last year I read an article about the Mexican vanilla industry and it claimed that things where getting better. However, the magazine was almost 12 years old last year when I read it. I wish I could remember what magazine it was in, so that I could acquire it. Also, I’ll take a look and see where my Saveur magazine is, they did an article on Mexican Vanilla a few years ago. I’m sure there will be a source listed for Mexican vanilla extract aside from Neilson Massey.

              And to answer Clarkafella question, I use vanilla extract in brownies here is a recipe which I’m fond of You could easily double the amount of vanilla extract used in the recipe.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I bought two small bottles of Mexican vanilla in a dollar store last year while on vacation in Tucson. The name labels states "Vanilla Maya Vanille". I haven't used it yet, and after reading these posts, am now uncertain if I SHOULD use it. I checked the ingredient list, and vanillin is listed as the first ingredient. There's no mention of tonka beans or coumarin anywhere in the ingredient list or on the bottle's label. I looked up vanillin, and it's defined as: a fragrant, white, crystalline substance, (CHO)(OH)CHCHO, produced from the vanilla bean or made synthetically. Where did you hear that Mexican vanilla with coumarin is generally called vanillin?

                1. re: pedal

                  Not that vanilla with coumarin is vanillin, but that synthetic vanilla is vanillin,
                  thus not natural nor as tasty, artificial. The coumarin is a bad added bonus sometimes. Wish it were easier or clearer, but was told to 'know' my source for Mexican vanilla, and if bottle said vanilla it was, if said vanillin, was fake. To make it tougher, they are both very inexpensive, but fake less expensive.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    The label on the bottle states it's vanilla, but vanillin is in the list of ingredients. If there's no coumarin listed, doesn't that mean that there wouldn't be any coumarin in the vanilla?

                    1. re: pedal

                      Seems they used to say 'no coumarin' if none was in product. Regardless, if vanillin, fake and would not bother, not for health, but for lack of true vanilla taste

              2. re: Pastryrocks

                Pastryrocks and anyone else needing vanilla beans - Last week Costco had packages with two tubes of several vanilla beans each at a very reasonable (I don't remember how much) price.

                1. re: Pastryrocks

                  You should try Gaya Vanilla is great! I have been using this brand and is pretty great... is from Mexico and I think the company started in 1800's not very sure about the year but I started using this brand just because of the history of the company and I really love this one and doesn't have Coumarin.

                  Is kind of hard finding in stores but I found it @ Amazon...

                2. Thanks for all the great replies! The bottle of vanilla is a brand called "Los Cinco Soles Mexico Natural Gourmet Vanilla" and it says on the label that it does not contain Coumarin.

                  I'm really hoping to find some kind of cinnamon rolls or sticky buns that taste divine and have 0 calories or fat. Wish me luck on that, huh?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Clarkafella

                    You should be able to make low-fat cinnamon buns. I recall that Eating Well magazine had such a recipe a gazillion years ago (before they ceased publication before resuming it back in 2003 or so). I made them and people really liked them, but in my move from Iowa to Indiana, I pitched all cooking magazines and packed only the cookbooks. Aarghh! Anyway, you can probably google for such a recipe.