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 GRADE B 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!