I was just curious about vanilla extract. It is a common ingredient in many baking recipes, and the alcohol is supposed to evaporate after the food is placed in the oven. If the alcohol evaporates, why is it considered haram? Is there anything that can be used as an adequate substitute for this ingredient?
Alcohol is najis (impure), and whatever comes into contact with it also becomes najis. So even if the alcohol evaporates during baking, the vanilla will still be najis, and whatever is najis, is also haram.
Alcohol-free vanilla powders are available on-line from The Spice House. You can also use artificial, alcohol-free, vanilla ingredients.