Vanilla is one of America's most popular flavorings. It's derived from the seed pods of orchids and is used frequently in baked goods. Most often, bakers use vanilla in the form of vanilla extract.
But what do you do if you don't have any of those cute little brown bottles on your shelf? Substitute a bigger brown bottle of something else.
In a pinch, you can use maple syrup in place of vanilla extract. The difference in flavor will be slight, you might be more likely to have it on hand, and it's cheaper.
You're best off using pure maple syrup, but if you don't have that, the more common pancake syrups will work as well.
According to Buzzle.com, you should use equal parts maple syrup to vanilla extract (1 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon). But if your recipe also calls for sugar, consider decreasing the amount of sugar you use in the recipe since the maple syrup contains a lot of sugar already.
If you don't have maple syrup, you can also substitute vanilla extract by using half the amount of either almond extract or maple extract (½ teaspoon almond or maple extract for every teaspoon of vanilla extract).