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A Few of Your Favorite Things!

Homemade Vanilla
with a twist!

Homemade Vanilla

I've always loved baking with good, quality vanilla. While others may sneak bottles of tequila over the border when returning from Mexico...I stuff my extra sneakers with bottles of Mexican Vanilla. Toll House Cookies never tasted so good!

But, I haven't ventured across the border in a few years and I've noticed, with interest, the Pinterest boards on homemade extracts  the past few holiday seasons. Since I'm a sucker for a new, creative, easy homemade gift idea-and some of the packaging and printable labels for these are so darn cute...I decided my Sunday afternoon project was to learn how to make this sweet treat!

Gathering the ingredients was definitely the hardest part of this project. When I say, "Easy Peasy," you really have to believe me on this one!

  • Step One is to find some Vanilla Beans   

You don't want to be super cheap on these but you don't have to go overboard either. You can get Grade B vanilla beans on Ebay or Amazon and still have a wonderful extract as you have control over the type of bean used.

Mexican Vanilla Beans have a bold, smokey flavor.

Tahitian Vanilla Beans will lend to a more floral-sweet aroma.

Madagascar Vanilla Beans are rich and creamy

I get my vanilla beans here

According to VanillaReview.comyou will need 8 whole vanilla beans to make one cup of extract. The best tasting vanilla has 1 bean per ounce of alcohol. This exceeds the minimum requirements of the FDA and will deliver a fine, quality vanilla.

Any variety of vanilla beans will make an excellent homemade vanilla extract or you can try to mix and match for an exotic baking blend!

  • Step Two-get some alcohol

click here to decide which alcohol to choose!

  • Using a clean knife, cutting board and scissors, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise, leaving one end together.
  • Scrape the gooey vanilla yumminess out of the vanilla bean.
  • Cut your bean skins into smaller size pieces so the alcohol will completely cover them in your jar. Put all of the pieces as well as the "scraped yumminess" into the jar as well.
  • Add the vodka (or desired alcohol) to your jar, cover and shake. Store it in a cool, dark place.
  • Shake the mixture daily for the first week, then weekly for the next 4 weeks. You can shake it more-it's a little irresistible!
  • Now it's time to run your creation through a cheesecloth if you're going to gift it. If you'd like it to ruminate longer, you can infuse the mixture up to 6 months before straining out the extra particles and enjoying your very own homemade vanilla!

Fun Homemade Vanilla Ideas

When making your vanilla extract, you can get those cute, little airplane sized bottles of vodka, rum or brandy and infuse 1 vanilla bean into each little bottle. Use the same method as above to prepare the vanilla bean.

This is a great way to give a unique gift that is inexpensive, yet useful!

Save the time and just order a Vanilla Extract InfusionCraft Kit or Homemade Kahlua Kit! Great gift idea!

Vanilla Sugar

I hate the thought of wasting these scrumptiously, delicious pieces of vanilla beans when the process of making your vanilla is complete.

Never fear...we can add some sugar and continue the vanilla bean lifespan!

This will be a simple process and is a great compliment to your homemade vanilla. After you've strained the liquid and have the bean pieces left over, simply dry them out for a couple of days and then toss them into a ziplock baggie with a cup or two of sugar. Shake and let sit for a few weeks before straining out the excess pieces. I like to use raw sugar but even table sugar is extra tasty with some vanilla flavoring!

Please share your tips and ideas on how to make vanilla!

Do you have a great recipe or tip about this? Share it!

Go From Homemade Vanilla to Homemade Kahlua Recipes

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