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Timing of addition of vanilla

I have a few recipes that specify adding vanilla at the very end (one cookie recipe even goes so far as to specify folding it in with the nuts). Does anyone know what benefit there might be to holding off adding vanilla until after the bulk of the mixing is done?

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  1. Vanilla extract is prepared with alcohol. Adding it too early in the process allows too much time for the alcohol (hence the vanilla flavor) to dissipate before it has a chance to flavor the ingredients throughout.

    1. For some reason my original response didn't take so if this is double posted -apologies.

      Is it extract or the bean? Or some other form of vanilla, e.g. paste, powder, sugar. Curious. I can see adding it at the end in candy making b/c of the extreme heat of the molten sugar. But in cookies my intuition would be to add it early so that it can meld with the other ingredients.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cinnamon girl

        Extract is often added at the end when making puddings and such (shortly after taking it off the heat). Scraped interior of beans is added early, often simmered with milk.

        I don't think there is an clear reason for adding extract at the end when making a cookie batter. Adding it to the liquid ingredients (but not hot melted butter) should distribute it more evenly.

      2. I have always added at the beginning with the eggs or fats.

        The time spent in the oven is going to neutralize any difference in adding it at the end or beginning.

        1. Foodie, it might just be the particular taste preference of the recipe author.

          1. It is vanilla extract, and the one that calls for it to be folded in wants the nuts and oats folded in at the same time, which is what really got me thinking... wouldn't the oats soak up the vanilla before it could be evenly distributed? So I thought I would turn to the folks here at Chowhound; thanks for your input!