Vanilla extract is made by macerating vanilla beans in a mixture of alcohol and water. Vanilla paste has a thicker viscosity and should generally include the seeds of the vanilla pod. The great thing about using it in place of essence is that your baking will come out with those lovely, authentic seeds throughout it. If your recipe calls for vanilla extract, check on the side of your jar of vanilla paste – it should let you know the equivalent amount to use. Vanilla essence is a synthetic product, but it’s so “real” most people can’t tell the difference.