I often get a "shocked" face when I tell people I enjoy vanilla and it ranks as one of my favorite flavors. "Why?" They always ask, "You're a foodie, you cook and bake for a living! Vanilla is so...blah." Not to me, vanilla has been washed down with imitation flavors and ingredients. I saw a white cake recipe with no vanilla extract!!! Oh why! People often see, if it a white, pale, or yellow color baked good, it MUST be vanilla flavored. Nope. There are small differences between white cake, vanilla cake, and yellow cake.
Knowing vanilla beans are costly, I use them sparingly. I go for real vanilla extract. Be sure to make sure the label says "REAL" not "IMITATION." What exactly is imitation vanilla? It is byproducts of wood and contains weird chemcicals. Gross. If the bottle says "vanilla flavoring," that is a combination of real and fake vanilla extracts.
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I always use vanilla extact in my cookies, cakes, and frostings. It adds a soft richness that you, and your taste testers, will notice. Don't over look it the next time you want to bake something delicious: vanilla bean pound cake, vanilla shortbread, vanilla cream cheese frosting, vanilla-chocolate sauce....
Kimm AKA Vanilla lover!