I agree with the posts above. Once you've had good, true vanilla, there is no substitue. I will say though that vanilla paste is a bit stronger than vanilla extract because it has bits on vanilla bean in it. I too would try substituting vanilla with another kind of less expensive extract such as mentioned in the post above. By the way, 1" of vanilla bean is equivalent to 1 tsp. vanilla extract. You can also make your own extract by using vanilla beans and vodka, but I'm not sure of the measurements. If you use vanilla bean, just slice it open and scrape out the seeds. That's where the flavoring is. Then drop the vanilla bean itself in some sugar and make your own vanilla flavored sugar. Very good. Hope this helps.
I have used very strong tea with pretty good results. If you have the tea powder, about a teaspoon of powder for a teaspoon of vanilla. If you don't have the powder, put a tea bag in about a quarter cup of boiling water & let it steep for about 5 minutes. It isn't the same as vanilla, but it can be pretty good.
There really is no substitute for vanilla. Unless they are calling for vanilla beans, then you can use vanilla extract in place of the beans. The best Vanilla is Bourbon Vanilla, Tahitian is also pretty good. Once you've tasted high quality Vanilla, you'll never want anything else; especially artificial vanilla! With Bourbon Vanilla the Vanilla Orchids are only open for one day a year. During this day, they have to be quickly hand pollinated. Amazing!
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No vanilla when baking? Don't despair if you find yourself low on vanilla while baking. Whiskey makes a great substitute, as it will give your recipe a wonderful flavor that'll set your dessert apart from all the rest.
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