I love finding recipes for things that I thought you could only buy in a store. I especially love them when they are easy and better than what you can usually find. All you need to make vanilla extract is a few vanilla beans, vodka and a little time to steep.
You can find whole vanilla beans in gourmet or health food stores that have a good spice section. You can also buy them online. I used two Madagascar Vanilla Beans (touted as the world’s best) that our friends Suzanne and Paul gave us.
Here’s how to make it:
-1 vanilla beans; slice it down the middle length-wise (at least 1 bean per cup of vodka)
-Place them in a jar
-Add 1 cups of vodka (enough to cover the beans)
-Cover tightly and store in a dark cabinet (or use a dark colored bottle)
-Shake every couple of days
You will see the color start to change in a day or two. In about three-four weeks, the extract will be ready to use. Strain if desired, but the longer the beans steep, the better the vanilla. I don’t strain mine.
You can keep the same vanilla beans going for years. Just keep topping off with more vodka. Pretty cool.
Start a bottle now and have it in time for your holiday baking. Add a pretty ribbon and you got yourself a dandy homemade gift.