Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Homemade Vanilla

This is my finished bottle.

Isn't it pretty!

Last year for Christmas, I made a batch with a friend and we gave it as gifts. This year, I want to make it again to give to different friends as gifts. I only found a few of the above bottles last year, not sure if I will find any this year. I have managed to save a few bottles of various types throughout this year that might work for vanilla. (Like wild organics olive oil bottles, rinsed and dried prior to use)

So, in all fairness of telling you about it and even showing how gorgeous it is. I will now share my recipe for it!

How to make homemade vanilla:

You can use new bottles from the store (world market carries some like the ones I used last year OR you can save and re-use those cute little dark brown glass vanilla bottles that used to have the store-bought kind in them.) Make sure if you are re-using that you scrub off the labels and wash the bottles in hot soapy water before you begin!

Next step - find Vanilla beans. You want Madagascar vanilla beans. Again, World Market carries them or you can find them on

For EACH 2-ounce bottle :

1/4 scant cup vodka (Any kind will do, I prefer the smirnoff)
1 Tablespoon Dark Rum
1 vanilla bean

Using your kitchen scissors, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, leaving about an inch connected (not cut) at one end. Now your bean looks like a "Y".

Combine the vodka and rum in a glass measuring cup.

Push cut vanilla bean down into jar.

Using a funnel add combined alcohol to your clean and dry vanilla jar.

Close lid tightly. All done!

Store the bottles for one to two months in a cool, dry place. Once a week, reach in and gently shake each bottle.

The extract will be completely ready in two months, and will remain good for years. (you can give the vanilla prior to the two months, simply instruct your friend to gently shake the bottle each week until ready)

Tie a pretty ribbon or some colored raffia onto the neck, adding a cookie cutter and recipe card using vanilla if you like, and "Viola" you now have a lovely gift for a friend.

Make sure you keep 2 bottles for yourself. This way you always have one ready to use while another is maturing.

Things to remember:

1. Shake the bottle prior to each use.

2. The flecks that come out in the Vanilla are pure baking gold, like the little brown flecks you find in your true vanilla bean ice cream - yummy!

3. You can easily add vodka when your bottle gets low and it will steep while you use up the other bottle!
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