Yes. You read that correctly. Homemade Vanilla Extract.
It is SO easy to make.
I go through very large quantities of vanilla, as you can probably imagine so to me this was worth not having to make an extra trip to Williams-Sonoma (or pay shipping) every few weeks to get the stuff I like.
I highly recommend going on Amazon.com to order the vanilla beans. At the local grocery store I have paid, in the past, $16 for a jar that held 2 vanilla beans. On Amazon I paid $25 for a half pound of them – that came to about 60 beans. Totally worth it.
I gave away 4oz bottles to just about everyone I know for Christmas and kept a large jar for myself and I still have plenty of beans left over to make lots more.
So you have lots of options for flavor.
First off the alcohol.
Yes, pure vanilla extract is basically just booze and vanilla beans.
So you need a high proof alcohol, like 80 proof. Rum, Bourbon, Vodka all will do. Typically you see bourbon vanilla in the stores but if you want just the pure vanilla flavor you may prefer the vodka.
You are going to use 3 vanilla beans per cup of alcohol.
You need a jar it can sit in and a dark cool place to put it. This stuff has to sit a while. I was making such a large amount that I just poured some of the bourbon out of the enormous costco bottle I bought and stuck the beans in the jar.
Don’t worry I didn’t throw the extra bourbon out. I put the rest of it in a mason jar and made more! I also tried doing a vodka one in a mason jar.
You also have to decide on the type of bean you want. There are madagascar and tahitian and all sorts of others. The madagascar is the most popular with the full, rich vanilla flavor and tahitian has more of a fruity flavor.
- 1 cup preferred alcohol
- 3 whole vanilla beans
- jars to store it in
- Slice each of the 3 beans length-wise leaving it connected at the top.
- Place the beans in the jar you have chosen.
- Pour in one cup booze.
- Close the lid on the jar.
- Set it in a cool dark place for 2 months.
- After 2 months it is ready to use!
- That’s it!