If I told you that I haven’t bought vanilla extract in years, would you think I was weird? It started with the vanilla… before you knew it, she was baking her own crackers, knitting her own toilet paper, and churning her own butter! What if I promised that I wouldn’t let it go that far?
In all seriousness, if you can find reasonably-priced alcohol and vanilla beans, it usually comes out cheaper to make your own. Plus, there’s that satisfaction you can only get from making it yourself. And it’s so easy! It’s really worth the wait.
I’ve always used vodka to steep my vanilla, but I think I’ll spring for some bourbon next time. I’m sure the flavor will be outstanding, even if it does mess up my price point.
You have to think ahead a little bit, as the vanilla steeps for 30-60 days. However, it will also keep indefinitely, so it’s reasonable to make large batches.
When it’s all done, you can store it in decorative bottles–the darker the better–and use it as you please. Heck, you might even decide to share with family and friends.
2 c. (375 ml) vodka [or bourbon, or even brandy!]
8 vanilla beans
Seal-tight bottle or other container, preferably of a dark material
1. Cut a lengthwise slit down the middle of each vanilla bean.
2. Discarding the ends, cut vanilla beans into ½ – ¾ inch pieces.
3. Pour the vodka into your container.
4. Add the vanilla beans to the vodka, seal the container, and shake. Store in a dark place.
5. Once a day for 30-60 days, vigorously shake the container for 30 seconds.
6. When the 30-60 day cycle has finished, strain out the solids and store the finished vanilla in a decorative bottle.