Many people do not use pure vanilla extract because it contains alcohol (this can be for religious or other reasons). There are other options, vanilla powder being one of them (you can also try vanilla paste).
Making vanilla powder is pretty easy to do, you just need vanilla beans and time! I had 2 vanilla beans, I chose to oven dry one bean and air dry the other. The reason why I did this was to see if there was any difference in quality when drying by oven vs. air. I will keep you posted with the results for the air dried bean (this may take between 1-2 weeks) insha'Allah! Since the oven method was done today I am posting those results :)
Vanilla powder is strong, if a recipe asks for 1tsp of vanilla extract use 1/2 tsp of the vanilla powder as a substitute, also vanilla powder can be incorporated in sugar and so many other things so its really versatile in use.
Ok so here we go.....
Using a paring knife slice the vanilla bean length wise (do not go through both layers only the top layer), make sure you leave a little room at the tips of the bean by not cutting all the way. Carefully open the bean up a bit just to see the inside, vanilla beans are expensive so don't waste the seeds inside!
I placed the vanilla bean on parchment paper and placed that on a baking sheet. I preheated the oven to 175 degrees F. The whole process took about an hour. However, after about 45 minutes I checked in on it a time or two to make sure it was ok. I did see some recipes that said 175-200 degrees is ok but I played it safe at the lower temperature this time around.
That 1 vanilla bean gave me 2 teaspoons worth of vanilla powder.
I hope you enjoy making vanilla powder. I'll be sure to add some ideas about how to use it in a few different recipes soon i'A!
<3 Halal Homemaker