I know it has probably never crossed your mind to make your own vanilla extract but why not throw caution to the wind and give it a try. It’s super easy but it does take a little planning as the process doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a perfect, unexpected holiday gift when everyone is busy baking away!
You just need a small 8 oz. glass container or jar with a lid. You will need to place inside the jar, 3-5 whole vanilla beans that have been split down the middle with a knife to expose the interior. Then, all you have to do is pour a cup of good quality alcohol up to the top of the jar to cover the beans and then seal the container.
What type of alcohol is best to use? I have tried many of kinds from cheap to high-end. My least favorite was vodka. It just didn’t seem to absorb the flavor as well. What I really liked was cognac and bourbon. It seemed to bring out the best quality flavor and complement the vanilla really well. Once you have sealed the jar, you will need to place it in a dark cabinet away from any direct heat source for about 90 days. Every couple of weeks, you will want to shake the jar to mix everything around inside but that is all there is to it! Isn’t that crazy simple?!
You can purchase clear glass bottles like I did at uline and use them for gifts. Aren’t they adorable?