Vanilla extract, one of the most popular flavorings in dessert making, is derived from aromatic pods of a variety of orchid. The extract, or essence, is made by dissolving the essential oil of the vanilla bean in an alcohol base. Use products labeled "pure" or "natural" vanilla extract. Extract from Madagascar has the best quality.
For other flavorings, see almond, anise, coconut, coffee, maple, and peppermint.