Last night I tested some samples of Sonoma Syrup Company’s vanilla extract in a batch of muffins, and I think I’ve found a new pantry staple. For starters, I could smell the vanilla through the package, just by sniffing around the cap. And that intense, drool-inducing smell stuck around in my muffins—even after baking them, they still had a lovely aroma and a clean hint of vanilla flavor. The extract is made with a blend of Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans (if you need to brush up on your bean types, check out our vanilla primer). And fortunately, it’s very affordable: At about $15 for eight ounces, it is actually cheaper than the conventional McCormick pure vanilla extract, which is about $9.50 for two ounces (and has added corn syrup).

Sonoma Syrup Company Vanilla Extract, $15.59 for an eight-ounce bottle

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