Monday, October 7, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I realize that it is only the first week of October, but for me, once school starts it is fall/holiday time.  I get so excited for the parties, food, cookies, gifts and celebrations!  I just love fall and all that brings.  The unfortunate part is that living in Vegas doesn't make it always feel like fall, but I just play pretend from inside my house and then all is good in my world.  :) 
I love to make homemade gifts for teachers, neighbors, friends and family.  I think when you take the time to make something special, the person receiving always appreciates it a little extra.  I love to see people enjoy what I make, don't you?  Plus this is one that you'll want to keep one for yourself too!
I go through vanilla extract fast!  Although I'm picky about the kind I buy.  I only use the real stuff and it can get expensive, especially at the holiday time with all the cookies and other baking I do.  I found this recipe to make Homemade Vanilla Extract and I love it!  It is so simple.  Initially it can be a little costly, but overall saves tons of money.  So look at it that way.  All you need is vanilla beans, vodka and nice bottle.  How amazing is that?!
For the bottle(s), if you are making it just for yourself, you can always make one big batch and use the vodka bottle itself which makes it even easier.  If you want to make smaller bottles to have you can find nice glass bottles at Wal-mart and craft stores.  Just make sure they have a good seal.  I had gotten some single serve wine bottles and they were the perfect size.  I just washed them up, after drinking/using the wine of course, and they worked great and I didn't have to spend anything extra on bottles.  I made 4 bottles of this size with one bottle of vodka.  I took 3 home to Ohio to give as gifts and kept one for myself.  Yum! 
The only bad part about making your own is that you have to let it seep for 4-6 weeks before using.  So, if you do want this for your own holiday baking or to give as gifts, start now!

After 1 week of shaking, it will keep darkening
as the beans continue to seep.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
from Akshayapaatram
  • 2-3 Vanilla beans, split lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup - Vodka
  • glass bottle with lid/cork
Pick a glass bottle that can hold a whole vanilla bean. Clean and dry completely. Place vanilla beans in the bottle and cover completely with vodka. Seal well and place in a cool, dark place in your kitchen. Give it a shake every day or so for the first week.  Can use after 2 weeks, but for best results let seep for 4-6 weeks.

Notes: Within 3 days you will begin to notice a light brown color and the extract was strong enough to use within 2 weeks. A month would be ideal but if you want to use it sooner start off with extra vanilla beans. I used 4-5 beans in my current batch and add more vodka as I use some of it. I buy my vanilla beans on Amazon from this supplier, its a great deal and the quality has been great. You can use vanilla beans in the extract for recipes as well. They will be super moist and you can squeeze out the seeds easily.

When your extract is all gone and you have super moist and amazing vanilla beans to scrap, it is the perfect time to make Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding.  Delicious!! 

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