Baking Booze (AKA: Homemade Vanilla Extract)

It was Spring Break a week ago.

For those of you that have left the realm of school and school schedules behind you, let me refresh your memory:

Spring Break is a tiny taste of heaven.

Spring Break is a sample of slumber.

Spring Break is a baking bonanza…so I wanted to share a project with you that I started several weeks ago.

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Homemade. Vanilla. Extract.

Its like the Spring Break of baking…except even I don’t know what that means so forget that.

It seems expensive at first.  However, after the initial purchase of ingredients, you end up with a huge amount of vanilla and end up saving money in the long run.

But its really easy!

And you seem super cool to all your baking buddies.

(Pardon my pictures please, the lighting was awful!)

You take some vanilla beans and split them in half.

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Put the beans in a (very) clean jar.  (I boiled mine and let it air dry.)

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Cover with vodka.

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Shake (and bake?)

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Store in a cool place and be patient for 6-8 weeks shaking well every day or two.  Who am I kidding? THAT’S hard!

There are a few decisions you’ll have to make:

1. What kind of vodka to use.

– I used the cheapest I could find and my extract is wonderful.  Quality of the ingredients however will impact the quality of the final product.  So…..use what’s in your price range.  It’ll be fine.

2. How many beans to use.

– I actually did a lot of research on this point.  Some sites said 3 beans per cup of vodka, others said up to 16 beans per cup. Wow.  This is what you need to know: more beans = more concentrated flavor and faster extraction.  I had purchased a decent quantity of beans for a 50 cents apiece at IndriVanilla, so I used 10 beans per cup.  I have a feeling that the vanilla would have been fine with fewer beans, but I’ve only done this once so I can’t guarantee it.  My theory is again to use what’s in your price range (but at the very least use 3 beans!).  It should be fine.

3. How much patience you have.

– You need a lot. Just saying.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Vanilla beans (enough for at least 3 per cup of vodka, more if you can swing it!)
  • Glass jar with tight fitting lid

Boil or otherwise sanitize the jar and lid and let air dry.  Split the vanilla beans leaving a quarter inch connected at the top.  Scrap the seeds out of a couple of the beans and put in the jar.  Add the rest of the beans.  Add enough vodka to cover the beans.  (You can cut the beans in half if you are using less vodka.)  Place the lid on and shake vigorously.  Store in a cool, dark place and shake every day for the first couple of weeks.  For the rest of the 6-8 weeks, shake every other day or so.

To see if its ready to use:

  • Open lid and sniff
  • If vanilla is the predominate scent, and its been at least 4 weeks, you can probably use it!
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One thought on “Baking Booze (AKA: Homemade Vanilla Extract)

  1. Pingback: The Perfect Thank You | ladyaubs

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