Monday, March 30, 2015

Homemade Vanilla Extract

One of my all-time favorite baking ingredients is vanilla extract.  I can't get enough of the stuff!  I put it in everything from cookies, to pancakes, to oatmeal - you name it, I'll try it!  I just don't like the expensive price tag that you have to pay for mediocre quality at the grocery store.  So I took matters into my own hands and purchased vanilla beans from Beanilla so I could make it myself.  This brand is literally half the cost of the grocery store selection, so much fresher and shipping is free!  It came right to my door in 2 days!  I chose the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, but have purchased their Mexican Vanilla Extract  before, which is also AMAZING.

All you have to do is cut a slit in 7 vanilla beans, lengthwise and add them to 8 oz. of  vodka.  I know, seems too easy right?   Well it is!  I had an 8 oz. mason jar that I wanted to store it in, so I had to cut the beans in half after I made the slit so they would fit better.  Just let it sit in your pantry for 6-8 weeks, and give it a shake every few days to mix all the flavors together.  I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!  Try it yourself!  All you need is 7 vanilla beans, 8 oz. of 70 proof (35% alcohol) vodka, and an airtight glass container.  Oh, and patience too, I guess.  Ugh my mouth is already watering thinking about all the amazing cookies I'm going to bake with it!

**UPDATE: The vanilla is amazing, but I did make a couple of modifications to the "recipe" during the process.  After 8 weeks, it was still a little light in color and flavor, so I added 2 more vanilla beans that I had on hand (the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans are sold in 5's, 10's, etc. so I had extra) and let it sit for 4 more weeks, still shaking occasionally.  The flavor is spot on and everybody said that the cookies I made for 4th of July Weekend were the best I've ever made.  I didn't change anything about the recipe...except using homemade vanilla!

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