Are there things in your life that you start doing and quickly wonder why you hadn't been doing that 'thing' long before now?!
For me, one of those things is homemade vanilla extract.
Vanilla is an ingredient I adore, and always have. My mom would buy me the biggest bottle of extract for my apartment in law school. If you dabble at all in baking, you know that vanilla is a critical ingredient to have in your pantry. And the best-quality, pure vanilla extract is crucial.
Making vanilla homemade, if you have never done it, will blow your mind! You will quickly reach the level of domestic goddess - and will feel that you are practically like Martha Stewart now.
In today's world, we are inundated with food shows, food magazines and Instagram news feeds, but how much are each of us in the kitchen cooking? How many of us are making our own aiolis, dressings, sauces or in this case - extracts? I'm guessing not as much as many you would like to admit. Full disclosure - over the years I've watched Food Network every weekend and flipped through monthly food magazines, but I would still sit down to scrambled eggs or (cough) giant bowls of cereal for dinner. These simple short cuts are great in a pinch, but it's the extra effort of making things from scratch that bring the real-deal ease and comfort to your daily life.
With baking, vanilla extract has been my way to take that one extra step and make something homemade. Vanilla simply takes vodka and vanilla beans. And a bit of patience (which I am constantly striving to develop).
For every 1 cup of vodka, you will need 2 vanilla beans. That's it! Vanilla magic.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup flavorless vodka
- 2 whole vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- Split the vanilla beans down the middle and place in a clear jar or bottle with a lid. Pour the vodka over the beans and place a lid on the jar or bottle.
- Allow the vanilla to sit in a cool dark place for at least 2 months and up to 5 months. The longer it sits, the more flavor develops. Shake the bottle occasionally.
- To switch it up - you can create unique extracts by using bourbon, brandy or rum in place of the vodka.
I keep a botttle of vanilla on my shelf and get excited each time I use it. When's the last time you said that about using vanilla?
This also makes a great gift!