There comes a time in every young baker's life when she just has to ignore the warnings of all her cooking mentors and take the leap into the dark unknown and try a spoonful of vanilla extract.
Unlike most bakers, who cave early, I didn't take the leap until well after college. One day, while baking chocolate chip cookies in Paris, I poured too much vanilla extract into my big measuring spoon. There was no way to pour it back in. And oh what a sweet and tasty smell.
I looked to my left, then to my right. My mother --asleep in her bed in California--was several timezones away and unable to stop me.
And so I did it, poured the entire spoonful into my mouth, realizing a dream I'd had ever since my first baking adventure!
it was revolting. Horrible, like what the fall from grace must've tasted like to Adam and Eve. Disgusting.
So I spit it out into the sink--just as a friend was walking into the room--and I proceeded to drink two glasses of water to get the taste out of my mouth.
But then as soon as I turned back to my cookies the vanilla extract bottle began calling my name. Maybe I just hadn't cleansed my palate properly ahead of time, or hadn't been in the right open, transcendental frame of mind necessary to become one with the heavenly elixir.
So I did it again. And spit it out. And again. And spit it out. Somewhere along the line that same friend walked into the kitchen and probably decided I had some weird eating disorder.
Anyway, ever since that day I've avoided vanilla extract. But you see, I bring all this up because yesterday I found some almond extract at the corner store, and it smells mighty, mighty tasty...