Homemade 100% Pure Vanilla extract
I had been seeing several people boasting on how easy it was to make your own extract and once the season came in for the Vanilla beans I decided to give it a swirl. WOW did those beans smell wonderful. I found them online and bought a pack of Madagascar Vanilla beans. Within a couple of days they were here and I was ready.... well after I went past the liquor store! Now I know a lot of people especially with young children are going to say that "I cannot use that to make my extract to use in items I bake for my family!" Actually if you are using ANY brand of store bought vanilla extract you have already been giving this to your family!! Read the label - yep there it is - I know, I checked, I thought the same thing ;)
So with that being said, I had to remember way back into the vaults of my early cooking memory - Alcohol burns off / cooks out so all that you are left with is the flavor ~ whew I had "almost" forgotten that. Now I could get started. It is quite simple, only a few minutes to assemble and then you let it soak for at least 2 months in a cabinet, just get out every couple of days and give it a shake to mix it up. Within a month it was looking a lovely amber, the 2nd month it really took on the darker color and the smell was fabulous. It has now aged with me using it for the last 4-5 months - I made a large bottle and the longer it ages the better it smells and tastes. Lets get started!
What you will need:
1 Bottle of Vodka or Brandy - I chose Vodka this time, I will try the brandy next time
4-6 Vanilla Beans - Whole - cut in half lengthwise to expose the beans - I used 4 large
1 Re purposed Bottle - I used a wine bottle with cork - they work wonderfully with so many liquids!
Cut the beans lengthwise in half, place into the bottle and pour the vodka in there. Top with cork, shake and set in cabinet. My next batch I will make at least 2 at a time, So I will have some to give away with my other homemade items for gifts :)
That is it!! Let is sit for at least 2 months, shake at least a couple of times per week to mix it up. Bake, Cook & Enjoy!!
NEVER go back to store bought! This is great in my cookies and cakes ~ Even a little splash in my coffee when I am in the mood for some Vanilla Cappuccino. My cost was 9.00 for the Vanilla beans - I used 4 of the 14 and the Vodka was 8.00 So the total cost for this batch was 12.00 for 66 oz of 100% PURE VANILLA EXTRACT!! That is still a substantial savings as 8 oz bottle at warehouse is 10.00 :) This is a change that we can all live with!