This is the perfect gift for any baker you know. So easy, too. I made my first batch a couple years ago, divvied it up, and gave it out to my book club friends at our holiday celebration. It takes a little planning as the alcohol needs about six months to completely extract the vanilla flavoring…oops, I’m a little late for this Christmas! But it’s one of the simplest things you’ll ever prepare.
Homemade Vanilla Extract~
750 ml bottle of vodka, rum or bourbon*
12 vanilla beans (I use Penzey’s Madagascar vanilla beans)
Pour out a couple tablespoons of your liquor of choice to make room for the vanilla beans. Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise. You may want to scrape out some of the seeds to add to the bottle, but this is not necessary. Put all 12 split vanilla beans into the bottle. Gently agitate, then place in a dark cabinet. Give it a shake every day for the first week, then once every couple weeks. Peak flavor occurs at 6 months and after, but it is usable before that. Strain vanilla at the 6 month mark, and store in a dark colored bottle.
You may continue to top off the bottle with alcohol, and add more vanilla beans. You will never have to buy vanilla extract again.
*I used vodka with my first attempt…it’s easy to see your progress as the vodka darkens. This batch was made with bourbon.