Watkins Spices
  Re: (...)
I saw an ad for Watkins spices. They are suppose to have a great vanilla bean flavoring. Has anyone ever used Watkins? Where do you purchase it?
  Re: Watkins Spices by wheatleyp1 (I saw an ad for Watk...)
At a former job, we had Watkins vanilla. I can get it now at the new Walmart in town, but I can't tell the difference between that and the brand names. It's the same price.

Off topic a bit- Cook's Illustrated tested vanilla and artificial vanilla, and we were all surprised when the test results showed no difference between the two in baked goods. A local baker (very reliable, talented and successful) told me years ago he only uses artificial vanilla. I was shocked, but his pastries and desserts are excellent.

Armed with the CI's knowledge, and the same opinion from a trusted baker, I started to use half real van and half imitation (sounds horrible, coming from me, the unofficial spokesperson for REAL vanilla) but noone, including myself, has noticed a difference. Sure is a lot cheaper.

Watkins makes a blend of real and imitation, and it's available at Walmart.

As for the spices, I can't say, I've never seen them arouund here.

That all being said, there are times only real vanilla will do. It's so expensive these days, I save the good stuff for the times it really matters, which almost always means little or no heat is involved.

Sorry to get a little off topic!

  Re: Re: Watkins Spices by pjcooks (At a former job, we ...)
We never had real vanilla extract here until about a year ago---it is almost prohibatively expensive!! Anyway, I bought a bottle (sold my firstborn dog) and, to be honest, did not notice any difference from the "essence" I have been buying for years. I don't think I want to sell my other dog---if I need a real vanilla jolt, such as in creme brulee, I will use a vanilla pod. So much better---IMHO--and even though expensive it is worth the money---plus I can make a batch of vanilla sugar with the scraped out pod!!

I'm noticing vanilla bean paste on the shelves now, too. Just bought a small bottle of that (my firstborn cat) but haven't used it yet. Has anybody used this ingredient yet and, if so, what do you think?
"Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy
  Re: Re: Watkins Spices by Roxanne 21 (We never had real va...)
Rox, I have seen the paste too, but not having any pets to sell, and at this point in my life unwilling to sell my first born (hey, he's 25 now, I'm reaping the benefits) I guess it will have to wait until... gas prices come down? electricity is cheaper?? I get a giant raise??? or I just get in a mood and go for it!


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