Depends on how picky you want to be about your recipe 😉
Vanilla extract is the real stuff – vanilla beans that have been in an alcohol solution, strained so you use the liquid. Here’s the nutritional information (no vitamin K in case you’re wondering).
That means that vanilla essence is the imitation/synthetic stuff. Again, no vitamin K in vanilla essence…
The price difference is noticeable, but not as bad as say pine nuts… 😉
I wanted to make my own vanilla extract, but between time and cost – store bought suits me fine.