Good vanilla is a baker’s best friend. Even though only a small amount is used in cakes, cookies, frosting, and ice cream, it’s an ingredient that can elevate your desserts from good to great.
But not all vanillas are created equal.
If you’re looking for desserts that really shine, replace imitation vanilla (which contains wood byproducts and other unexpected ingredients) with double-strength pure vanilla extract. You can use half the amount called for in a recipe—or use the full amount if you love a rich flavor. A little goes a long way and will make your baked goods and homemade ice cream stand out.
So what makes this flavor so distinct, and why does it cost more to get it? Here’s what it takes to produce the vanilla that professional bakers prefer: