Vanilla extract is a pantry staple, particularly if you like baking. That handy little bottle gives vanilla flavor to cookies, cakes, whipped cream, custards, and all types of sweets. I always have vanilla in my kitchen, but for years, I didn't think all that much about it.
To answer the latter: Yes, you need vanilla bean paste. You need to buy a massive bottle on Amazon, store that stuff in your pantry next to the extracts this and that, and live the good life. Here's why:
I get intimidated by cupcakes. Not the baking part—that's easy. Line a muffin tray with pastel baking cups. Bake. Frost. Or, that’s what cupcakes used to be.