For our family, this is a much appreciated ingredient. I often add just a little more than a recipe requires with no complaints.
Even though this is real brandy, I use it only as an extract. There are a few baked items which call for brandy. I buy it in the tiny bottles and store it with my other baking extracts. On occasion I have omitted this ingredient if I didn't have any, with very acceptable results.
Vanilla is perhaps the flavoring most used in desserts. For that reason it is essential to purchase the best quality vanilla you can afford. This recommendation is the result of a hard-learned lesson. One time a lesser quality vanilla virtually ruined what otherwise would have been a delicious dessert. Some time after this incident,one of my children provided me with a wonderfully amusing moment Secretly,this one (his girl friend an enthusiastic cohort) had exchanged the bad vanilla (even though its packaging listed it as "pure," not "artificial") with an excellent quality Madagascar vanilla. What a fun surprise was mine when I next went to the cupboard looking for vanilla, I have learned my lesson... "and a [not so] little child shall lead them."