Hey Besties! We all grew up with vanilla extract in the pantry and used it as a staple in all baked goods. With good reason, vanilla extract smells and tastes amazing! But did you know there is a whole world of baking emulsions and super strength flavors that can completely transform your recipes?! Emulsions are kind of lesser-known and many home bakers don’t even realize the potential at their fingertips. Did you know most professional bakers rely on emulsions far more than extracts in their amazing creations? Let’s dig into the differences, when and how to use emulsions, extracts and super strength flavors!
What are Baking Emulsions?
Emulsions are water-based and can withstand high temperatures without losing their flavor; they don’t ‘bake-out’. Since they are water-based, they can give a more pure, well-blended flavor in your baking creations. They come in a wide variety of flavors to really take your goodies to the next level and set you apart from others.
What is an Extract?
Extracts are alcohol-based and they do tend to lose some of their flavor when baked at high-temps since the alcohol evaporates and takes some flavor with it. So, extracts do tend to ‘bake-out’. They are also available in a variety of flavors.
What are Super Strength Flavors?
There are also products called Super Strength Flavors, or sometimes called candy oils. However, they are not just for candy! These are 3-4 times stronger than extracts and can be either water or oil-based, depending on the flavor. As you can imagine, a little goes a LONG way and you are commonly adding these to your recipes by the drop or in small amounts.
There is also a common misconception that these are all oil-based because the brand name on the bottle is “LorAnn Oils”. This is just the brand name and does not indicate that the flavor is actually oil-based. You must look at the actual ingredient label to see if each super strength flavor is oil or water-based.
When to Use Each Type of Flavoring
Now that we’ve covered the main differences, let’s talk about when it’s appropriate to use each kind of flavoring. All three types of flavorings can be used in cakes, cookies and other baked goods.
Flavoring Royal Icing
And since we have so many readers who are decorated cookiers, let’s talk about royal icing for a moment. Confusion regularly comes up online regarding flavors that are suitable for royal icing. To put this to rest, all extracts, emulsions and water-based super strength flavors work just fine in royal icing. An oil-based flavoring may affect the way the icing dries, so you’d want to shy away from oil-based flavorings in royal icing. Most of the super strength flavors are water-based, so you have many options; just reserve oil-based ones for chocolate and candy-making.
Flavoring Chocolate & Candy
However, if you’re wanting to flavor chocolate or candy, you’re going to want to use an oil-based Super Strength Flavor since chocolate or candy will seize up if exposed to anything water-based. I can tell you that adding a few drops of LorAnn Peppermint Super Strength flavoring to dark chocolate will allow you to make an amazing dark chocolate mint hot cocoa bomb or cake pop!
How Much To Use
When baking cookies and cakes, you’re basically going to get a better, richer flavor using an emulsion versus an extract.
Emulsions are a 1:1 substitute for extracts. So, if your recipe calls for 1 tsp of vanilla extract, you can substitute 1 tsp of a baking emulsion of your choice. Since we’re constantly developing new recipes, we also commonly play with combinations of flavors as well. For example, you could use 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of a baking emulsion if you still want some vanilla flavor.
If you’re using a super strength flavor for a batch of royal icing, I’d start with a 1/4 tsp of flavoring. You can always back off or add more next time, depending on how subtle or bold you want your flavor. Remember, these are much stronger than extracts and emulsions, so a tiny bit goes a long way!
When flavoring chocolate or candy, you’ll want to use super strength flavorings by the drop since they are so strong.
LorAnn is a very popular maker of baking emulsions, extracts and super strength flavors. You can find these in many bakery supply stores and many emulsions flavors HERE. You can also find their super strength flavors in baking supply stores and HERE online. Michaels, Joann, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart also carry a limited selection of flavors.
As you will find, there are SO many different flavors and really opens up a world of possibilities! My daughter and I love brainstorming all kinds of fun flavor combinations! Here are some fun combos, but you should really get creative and experiment with the flavors that resonate with you!
Sugar Cookie recipe HERE, using LorAnn’s Strawberry emulsion, using our go-to royal icing, flavored with lemonade super strength flavor!
Cookies & Cream Cake/Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake with Cookies & Cream super strength flavor added to buttercream frosting!
These are just a few examples of delicious combinations we love and hopefully they inspire you to get creative too! We use all kinds of flavoring options, as evidenced by our cutout cookie recipe collection! Many of our top sellers utilize fun flavors!
There are two baking emulsions which are commonly used as secret ingredients and there’s good reason for it!
- LorAnn’s Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion: With hints of both vanilla and citrus, this is a go-to for many bakers
- CookieNip Emulsion: With hints of vanilla and salted caramel, this is an emulsion many bakers love
I hope this post all about extracts, emulsions and super strength flavors has been helpful! And perhaps I’ve removed some of the mystery around how and when to use different flavoring options. It’s never been easier to set your baked goods and confections apart with fun flavors! Use your creativity, your kitchen as a flavor lab and let me know what your favorite flavors are!
And before you go, are you already receiving our weekly newsletter? If not, now is the perfect time to subscribe! Never miss out on a new recipe, technique, product recommendation, Featured Baker, home bakery business strategy and free printables! Happy Baking, Besties!
Sign up to receive my newsletter!