I love to bake, especially during Christmas. I've always wanted to make my own vanilla extract. Real vanilla is so expensive and, like anything else, I'm sure homemade is better. Homemade vanilla extract also makes a great gift for just about anyone on your gift list. It does take at least 8 weeks to make, so if you want make it for a gift you need to get started now.
I wish I had taken pics while I was making it tonight, but seriously it's so easy you don't need them.
2 cups of alcohol (rum, vodka, brandy)
6 vanilla beans
Cut vanilla bean almost to end with kitchen scissors or a knife. Pour alcohol in glass container and put in vanilla beans. Push them down so they are covered. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 8 weeks. Swirl it around every few days while it sets.
That's it! How easy is that?? I used vodka because I had it and it's relatively cheap. I've read on the 'net that rum or brandy give a different flavor, but I haven't tried it.
I paid $4 for 3 beans at Giant Eagle. If you want really high quality beans you'll want to order them from the internet or go to a specialty store. I've had good luck with Giant Eagle brand foods, and I wanted to get it started for my holiday baking.
I've also heard that after you use a little you can top it off with a little more alcohol and throw in a new bean every so often when the color starts to fade. If you do it this way it will make the next batch so much cheaper than the first.
If you've made it before please post your results!