I love to bake. Muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes. You name it, I love it. Probably because it's all fattening and sugary and rich.
A few years ago on a cruise to Mexico, I was able to pick up some lovely, delicious vanilla extract. So pure and wholesome. Eventually, this happy story comes to an end when I ran out and had to buy some at the grocery store.
I knew my story with vanilla extract would turn around when I decided to make my own.
I'm making some for myself, and some as gifts for Christmas. Friends and family, I apologize now because you may very well be receiving some for Christmas. Pretend you didn't know and act excited.
From what I've learned, the vanilla extract gets better with age, which is why I've already started it.
Now you'll need the following:
-containers to hold the extract
-alcohol (my choice being vodka)
Seriously, how cute are these bottles? I chose a smaller size for gifting, but you could easily go with bigger. I found these at Hobby Lobby.
With these bottles, (approximately 4-5 oz.) I used one vanilla bean per container.
You take your vanilla bean and carefully cut into it lengthwise to open the bean up. You can choose to scrape the seeds out, but I chose to leave them in.
Plop your single bean into your container. I bent my bean the opposite way I cut it. Essentially the cut portion of the bean is facing outward for maximum possibility of the bean and the alcohol doing their thing.
Now the fun part: add the alcohol. I chose vodka, and actually had to buy a few small bottles. If you plan on making quite a bit, just buy a large bottle. With the bean in place inside the container, add vodka to make sure bean is entirely covered.
Once filled, close your container and store in a dark, cool place. My place of choice? A kitchen cupboard. Let them sit and let the essence come alive. Whenever I open my cabinet, I shake the bottles to get things moving. They smell like extract already, but I know they will be better with time. From my research, two months is the sweet time. After that length of time, the extract should be nothing short of amazing.
Amazing indeed. <3
Is it weird that I'm geeked to use this? I don't think so.
And as gifts, it's good to go just like this. I plan on leaving the bean in, because the flavor will only continue to grow stronger. And because it's cute!