Vanilla extract is a pantry staple for most home cooks. Did you know that you can make homemade vanilla extract using only two ingredients? After just a few months you can use your very own vanilla in all your favorite recipes like chocolate chip cookies, cake, or homemade chocolate truffles.
Like most home cooks I use a lot of vanilla extract. I haven't checked the price on vanilla in a while because I've been making my own but I do remember that it was pretty expensive. So a few years ago I decided to try making my own vanilla extract and it worked! I scoured the internet looking at recipes and found a lot of different ways to make homemade vanilla. The recipe seems to be pretty loose so I just kind of went for it.
All you need to make your own vanilla extract are some vanilla beans and vodka. The ratio of alcohol to vanilla beans is totally up to you. The more beans that you use, the stronger extract you will get. I started this jar with just two beans, but a year later, I added about 6-8 more beans and my extract got a lot darker and stronger, which I love.
I started out using a high end vodka, but any cheap brand will suffice. Just stick the beans in the vodka and let it sit. It'll take a good 6 months to get nice and dark, but even after a few months you'll have a decent extract to use. You can see the difference in the extract in the photo – the one on the left is taken a year earlier after I'd just added more vodka to the bottle. I just keep adding vodka to the beans when I get low and so far, they've lasted for 2-3 years.
Just a note not to buy your vanilla beans at the grocery store. You need to buy them in bulk. I bought mine on Ebay years ago but Amazon sells vanilla beans in bulk and even on Subscribe and Save. I don't recall what kind of beans I bought (Madagscar or Tahitian) so I'm pretty sure it's not a deal breaker on how your vanilla will turn out. I just went for the best price.
This week's Iron Chef Mom is all about VANILLA! So head over to our host, Mom on Timeout, and link up your favorite recipes that use vanilla. Remember, vanilla does not have to be the main ingredient – it just has to be in the recipe!
— Growing Up Gabel (@TheGabels) January 22, 2013