Vanilla, vanilla, oh how I love thee! One of my favorite scents and tastes is vanilla. I adore vanilla candles, Warm Vanilla Sugar is my go to BBW fragrance and I just can't resist adding extra vanilla to any and all recipes calling for the delicious extract. I am a vanilla snob and only pure vanilla will do, no imitation in my kitchen, but it is so gosh darn EXPENSIVE!
My solution? Make my own! I never realized how easy, economical and delicious homemade vanilla is.
You need 3 things -
1. A Mason Jar - I started with a pint jar -MISTAKE- the second time I made vanilla, I went with a quart size, much better idea.
2. Good Vodka - many will say cheap vodka is good enough, but seriously, your vanilla is only going to be as good as the ingredients you put into it. Splurge a bit and get the good stuff, you can make a great cosmo with what is left over (wink, wink).
3. Fresh Vanilla Beans - note the term "FRESH". Do not use those dried up things you buy in a bottle at the grocery store. They've been sitting there since Christmas of 2000 and have very little flavor yet. I order mine online through Amazon. I like the Madagascar Bourbon beans the best. You will need about 12 beans for a quart jar.
Clean and dry your jar well. Make sure your jar lid and ring are new for food safety's sake.
Take each bean and make a cut down the middle, but do not remove the seeds.
Put the beans in the jar, cover with vodka almost to the top.
Cover with jar lid and tightly screw on jar ring.
Put in a cool, dark place for about 3 months, shaking once a week or so.
And here's what you get...
Look at that delicious yummy flavor in a jar! A quick word of warning - homemade vanilla has a stronger flavor than imitation or even real vanilla you can purchase, so use according to your one vanilla tastes. You can share this if you like, or keep it all for yourself. It makes great gifts. There are several places online you can order cute, smallish bottles inexpensively. Label and tie it up with ribbon and you have a great gift.
Here are some recipes using homemade vanilla extract:
Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Warm Vanilla Fruit
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