A few years ago TJ's had these great jars of vanilla bean paste, just like vanilla extract but with the bonus of all those sexy vanilla flecks. I unwisely fell in love with it but then, like so many of us TJ's lovers do, got burned when it disappeared from the shelves without even a parting glance. I'd look everytime I went, ask friends if they'd seen vanilla paste, even stoop to asking the staff, but for years there was nothing, not a trace. Then last month when I'd finally given up hope, thrown out that empty old jar that still smelled so good and moved on, there it was, back on the shelf, as lovely as ever. Trader Joe's vanilla paste, all is forgiven, I know this time you're going to stay forever, right? RIGHT??
Vital information: It's $5 for a 4 ounce jar, the ingredient list is identical to the Nielsen-Massey jar which goes for about $12 (also for 4 ounces) -- I assume it IS Nielsen-Massey, just repackaged. It's less a substitute for real vanilla beans than a really nice alternative to vanilla extract, especially when you want the flecks to show up in the final product.