Notable Edibles Fall 2013 Issue

Vanilla Beanery

By Wendy Allen | Photo By Jim Klousia 0

Julie Wiedmeyer of Sun Prairie is a chocolatelover turned vanilla. “One day I ran out of vanilla extract and borrowed a friend’s,” she says. “It came from somewhere in South or Latin America and it transformed my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Turns out that the vanilla we get here in the States is not actually vanilla, so I decided to make my own.”

A great vanilla is one whose flavor doesn’t change with how it’s used. “Some vanillas do well cold but lose flavor when heated. I was searching for one that would work for both.” Forty-five varieties later Julie found the magic bean and perfected her proprietary processing method, and the Vanilla Beanery was born.

Sampling this vanilla myself in a Bailey’s frosting, French toast and my favorite rhubarb muffin recipes, I honestly agree. Regular vanilla extract was a little overbearing in the frosting but died away in the baked goods. (Don’t even bother with imitation vanilla—it’s much too strong and has an awful astringent flavor.) Vanilla Beanery, on the other hand, was less pronounced with a wonderful almost-smoky flavor in both the cold frosting and French toast. In the muffins the flavor and aroma blended perfectly with the tart rhubarb. The fact the vanilla is created right here in Wisconsin is a nice feel-good bonus.

As we head into baking season, visit the Vanilla Beanery website for where to buy: And check out for bonus recipes from Julie.

Wendy Allen is digital editor, copy editor, and a writer for Edible Madison. She reads style guides for fun, believes stories have power, and is fascinated by the evolution of the English languageā€”for better or worse. Her mission: to wrestle the wily comma into submission.

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