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.
As every serious baker can attest, baking is both an art form and a science, and the secret to creating a successful baked good comes down to two things: numbers and ingredients. With the proper numerical balance (that’s where following the recipe closely comes in) and the right high-quality ingredients, you can become a master baker in no time at all.
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: