This recipe comes from my friend Beth, who bakes more than anyone else I know. She likes to make it b/c it is such a cost savings over buying quality vanilla extract in the quantity she needs to maintain her baking addiction. I like it because I like anything I can make myself. I like knowing how things are made and chipping away at my dependence upon packaged goods in pursuit of my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- 6-8 whole vanilla beans, cut into 2″ sections
- 8 ounces vodka
- 12-oz jelly jar with screw on lid
This is so embarrassingly simple it makes me wonder what other items I depend upon from stores when I could be making it myself. Like many good things, this requires waiting. The pickles might only take 3 weeks, but this one you need to set aside for 6 months. Basically you are allowing time for the vanilla flavor to be leached from the bean into the alcohol. Keep it in your cupboard and give the jar a gentle shake occasionally. Do this regularly in the first 2 weeks and then occasionally (every few weeks) after that. Start using once the 6-month mark has passed. Since it is 99%+ alcohol, this will basically have an indefinite shelf life. Pour into an empty existing extract bottle for easier dispensing.
Plan ahead a bit and make a larger batch, divide into small bottles, add a homemade label and you have tasty and unique homemade holiday gifts.