Vanilla has converted a new addict.
The truth is, I bought my very first vanilla bean only last week when I was making rice pudding. Itâ€™s not that I didnâ€™t know how fantastic they are in all of their clarity of flavor and little-goes-a-long way charm, I was just both too cheap to buy them, and too afraid to go down that slippery slope whereby no extract would do ever satisfy me again . . .
This hasnâ€™t kept me from feeling despicably posh in the week since as my worst fears were quickly confirmed: nothing else will ever do, ever. Fine, brownies donâ€™t need freshly-scraped vanilla speckles, and maybe not banana bread either. Apple pie can do without and, yes, butter cream frosting as well. But custards, creams, puddings and, for certain, white cakes just hit the big time because, sweet mercy, fresh vanilla is a flavor more profound than chocolate. More profound. Than chocolate. Hold me.