Friday, May 13, 2011

DIY Vanilla Extract

As you probably already know, I LOVE to bake. I probably bake weekly, sometimes twice a week. I love trying all different dessert recipes but there's one ingredient that probably goes into almost everything I bake- vanilla extract. So it's no surprise I go through this ingredient like no tomorrow but I hate when I'm down to my last drop because this key ingredient is not cheap! In fact, it's probably one of the most expensive ingredient I use when baking. So that's why I decided to make my very own vanilla extract!

My friend Linda makes her own all the time and told me how very simple it is. She gave me a bag of vanilla beans to get started...the only other ingredient I needed was some vodka- which was not hard to find. In fact, I searched our freezer and sure enough, I found an unopened bottle (shhh, don't tell the hubby I used the whole bottle on making vanilla extract!).

What you'll need:
1) Vanilla beans (grade B)- Linda says you can find whole bags on eBay for a good deal
2) Vodka 
3) A dark empty bottle with a tight seal (I used a dark green wine bottle)
4) A sharp knife to cut the beans
5) Optional: a blunted knife to scrape the goo (caviar) out

1) Use the sharp knife to cut a slit lenghtwise down the middle
2) Optional: with a blunted knife scrape the vanilla beans out and make a pile on your cutting board
3) Optional: cut the vanilla beans in smaller pieces

4) Put the vanilla beans and caviar into the empty bottle
5) Fill with vodka and seal tight
6) shake, shake, shake!

7) Store bottle in a cool, dark place (I put mine in the kitchen cupboard)
8) Shake the bottle once a week for the first month, then every few weeks after that
9) The best part- you can use the vanilla and continue adding vodka

The extract can be used after 4 weeks but the 6-8 months will be better..... perfect for Christmas gifts if you start now! If you want to gift the extract, just get little bottles, a funnel, and some cute ribbon and labels!
Check out this site for cute details on how to gift these

For some serious detailed instructions on making vanilla extract, click here.

Anyone thinking about making this for yourself? Or for giving away as gifts? Well, don't be surprised if you get these from me for Christmas!

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