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What is a baking extract?

Probably the most popular extract is vanilla extract.

What you might not know is there are so many more extracts… from nuts, flowers, fruit, beans… you name, there are extract for it (or can be made from it).

Let’s dive into the fascinating topic of baking extracts.

What is a baking extract?

Baking extracts are concentrated liquids that have been infused with aromatic herbs, spices, fruits or nuts. They’re used as flavoring agents in baked goods and desserts.

What is it used for?

Baking extracts are most often associated with cake flavors—especially vanilla extract, which also has the added bonus of lending a brownish hue to whatever it touches. Extracts can be mixed into batters before they go into the oven, or they can be blended into frostings or other creative toppings just before serving.

What is the difference between extract and flavoring? These terms are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between extract and flavoring—both are the concentrated juices of plants that have been liquefied and used as flavorings. Extracts are typically made from fruits with high sugar content, making them more concentrated than those made from vegetables.

What’s the difference between baking and culinary extracts?

Baking extracts can be used in sweet or savory recipes while culinary are restricted to savory recipes.

How much extract should be used in baking recipes?

The amount of extract varies based on the recipe and the desired flavor. Generally, you can substitute one cup of extract for approximately two tablespoons of flavoring.

How do baking extracts differ from liquid flavorings?

Unlike extracts, liquid food flavorings can be added to recipes without being substituted for sugar or other ingredients. They’re typically used in beverages and sauces.

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What is the difference between baking extracts and baking oils?

While oil is extracted from seeds, fruit or nuts, baking extracts are concentrated liquids.

Extracts are liquefied and stored in a small container to keep them fresh and then added into flour, eggs, vegetable oil or butter.
Baking oils are more easily substituted for their liquid counterparts in recipes. They’re also more expensive than baking extracts. A balanced 1:1 ratio of oil to extract is recommended in all types of recipes for the best results.

How long do extracts last?

Extracts will retain their flavor for six months to one year if stored in a cool, dry place.

What are the different types of baking extracts?

There are many, many different types. Let’s start with the general categories:

Sugar-free: These flavors are completely natural and contain only the essential oils and flavors of the ingredients they’re made with. Some sugar-free extracts, however, do contain sugar alcohols (also known as polyols), which can be challenging to work with because they don’t mix well with other ingredients.

Nut-based: Baking extracts that are vegetable-based use a base of oil and nuts to create a rich and flavorful result. Examples of these include almond extract, coconut extract, hazelnut extract and peanut butter extract.

Bean Extracts: These are extracts from beans such as vanilla beans and coffee beans. For example, vanilla beans are cured and then soaked in a mixture of alcohol and water. This process extracts the flavor from the beans. They then steep for weeks or even months, depending on the strength you’re looking for.
Coffee bean extract is a type of vanilla extract that’s made from grinding up and infusing crushed coffee beans. Again, the beans are steeped in an alcohol-water mixture.

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Extracts from flowers include:

Rose extract : Rose extracts are made from rose petals that have been steeped in a strong alcohol solution. The scented petals impart their delicate flavor to the mixture, which then becomes the extract.

Coconut flower extracts are also becoming popular.

Rosewater is a popular flavoring made from rose extract and water. It’s used as a non-alcoholic flavoring agent in desserts and cakes, as well as an occasional food ingredient for savory dishes such as rice pilaf and stews.

What are some of the different fruit-based extracts?

Apple: This ingredient is made from apples that have been steamed, distilled and macerated (soaked in alcohol) with other natural flavors. It’s commonly used in recipes that call for apple flavor, and it also may be used as a food coloring.

Apricot: This extract is made from pulp of fresh apricot pits or apricot kernels dried to a syrup. As the name suggests, this ingredient is often found in recipes calling for apricot flavor.

Banana extracts are made from the actual fruit and have a caramel, nutty taste. Each extract is made from different combinations of ripe bananas to achieve varying levels of sweetness. Banana flavor can be found in many baked goods, especially banana breads.

Banana flavoring (also called banana oil) is the same thing as extract, but it’s derived by steam distillation rather than natural extraction.

Guava extracts are made from the fruit of the guava tree. They have a mild, fruity taste. This ingredient is frequently found in tropical cake recipes and Red Velvet Cake.

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Lemon extracts are made from the peel of lemons and are most often used in recipes that call for lemon juice but not actual lemon wedges
Raspberry extract can be made in two ways: from the actual fruit or from artificial flavorings that have been compiled into a liquid form.

Pineapple extract is made from the rind of pineapples and has a tropical, fruity flavor.

Sour cherry extract is derived from the fruit pits of sour cherries and has a sweet-and-sour taste that works well in many recipes.
I could go on and on… the point is that there are extracts made from pretty much every possible fruit.

Herb-based extracts can be made as well. One of the more popular herbal extracts for baking is lavender extract.

What are baking extract sets?

Baking extract sets include a combination of several extracts in one container. They can be purchased in bulk or in single-serving pouches, which are perfect for keeping on hand and using for your next baking project. The various flavors can be blended together to create a custom-made extract that you could use with any recipe to provide the desired flavor profile.