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Last fall, after a lot of delicious muffins came out of my oven, I realized two things – vanilla extract comes at a hefty price and top quality extract is difficult to find.
Instead of breaking the bank or giving up baking, I decided to start making my own extract. After doing some research, I learned a few things.
Single-fold extracts are what you typically find on the shelves at your local grocery store. They’re not ideal because they often use less beans and don’t have the profound flavor that double-fold extracts do. Double-fold extracts, which most professional bakers prefer, often provide significantly better flavor and aroma. Because I trust the professionals, I decided to make a double-fold extract. (If you prefer an extract that isn’t quite as robust, just cut the amount of beans in this recipe by a third.)
In my hunt for the perfect extract, I also discovered that there are LOTS of varieties of beans that all create a unique flavor. I personally prefer a traditional, rich and creamy vanilla, so I use Madagascar vanilla beans.
After sampling my first batch (and saving a lot of money), I understood what all the fuss was about. I had control over the quality and type of vanilla I made my extract with, and I was able to determine how much vanilla I used. Needless to say, I’ll never go back to store-bought vanilla.
Each time I make vanilla, I double the batch because it makes the PERFECT gift!
Whether it’s a housewarming gift, a hostess gift or I simply want to let someone know I’m thinking of them, my go-to “you’re awesome” gift is a bottle of this pure homemade goodness. If you want to get a little cute and creative with your vanilla extract as a gift, tie yarn or a string around the neck of the bottle with a small/medium-size cooker cutter attached. It’s so cute and functional!Print
- 15 vanilla beans (Madagascar)
- 750 ml 80 proof vodka (Titos vodka works great)
- Remove 1/4 cup of vodka from the full bottle of vodka.
- On a cutting board, slice each bean length-wise. If the beans are too dry to split, cut them into 1 inch pieces. You can even go as far as scraping the vanilla bean flecks from inside the bean out with a knife and adding them to the jar of vodka, in addition to the bean.
- Add beans to the vodka bottle, making sure they are completely submerged. If the vodka bottle is too full, remove more vodka so all 15 beans fit. After adding beans, tightly seal the bottle. Shake and store somewhere at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
- Once a week, shake the bottle and set it back on the shelf. For best results, I like to shimmy to the beat of Shakira!
- You can use the extract as soon as 8 weeks, but it only gets better with age, so ideally, you should wait 6+ months. Once complete, you can remove the vanilla beans or leave them in the bottle so the flavor continues to evolve, like a fine wine. I’ve left the beans in anywhere from 2 months to over a year.
- Sanitize a medium-size mason jar. Fill each mason jar with one cup of vodka. Add five beans per jar, sliced in half lengthwise. If the beans do not fit in the jar completely submerged, cut them in half.
- If you want to get a little cute and creative with your vanilla extract as a gift, tie yarn or a string around the neck of the bottle with a small/medium-size cooker cutter attached. It’s so cute and functional!