I would like to take the liberty of reclaiming the term “plain vanilla.” Historically it’s been used as a deragatory term to imply boring or lacking, but I would argue that “plain vanilla” is far from it. Plain vanilla is perfect: perfect on its own, perfect as a partner, and perfect as an ingredient.
My parents bought this container of atomic strength atomic vanilla while they were dating (which was, like, a really really long time ago), and I still get blown away that it seems to be never-ending, and still makes cookies taste as good as ever. We made a picnic with family friends last Friday in Sausalito, and I made a batch of these chocolate chip cookies with help and guidance from smitten kitchen. The recipe has become my favorite for chocolate chip cookies, and I hope you can smell the vanilla through the photos.