Making your own vanilla extract is really easy. All you need is vanilla beans, vodka, a jar, and time.
Get 4 fresh, good quality vanilla beans. We prefer Madagascar vanilla beans because they have the best flavor, but Mexican beans are also good, because they have a dark color which helps with the infusion.
Use an 8 ounce jar that’s tall enough to hold your vanilla beans. If it’s not tall enough, you can cut the beans in half. And if the jar is smaller or bigger than 8 ounces, just use proportionately fewer or more beans.
Put the 4 beans in the jar and pour in the vodka. The better the vodka, the better the extract. We prefer Tito’s Handmade Vodka because it is distilled 6 times and so is very smooth. If you don’t have Tito’s, you can use any vodka you want.
Close the jar and put it in a cool, dark place. Shake it once a week. In 2-3 months, you’ll have vanilla extract. The longer you wait, the more intense the vanilla taste becomes. If you try it after two months and it’s not vanilla-y enough, put it back and keep waiting. And if you wait too long and it’s too intense, just dilute it with some more vodka.
Pair it will a bow or cute packing and you have the perfect hostess or holiday gift!
1. You can reuse the beans – take them out of the jar, split them in half, put them in a new jar with new vodka, and start again! The second infusion will take longer.
2. You can infuse using other spirits – Rum makes a really interesting extract and Bourbon gets an amazing vanilla flavor that works great in baked goods like pecan pie and molasses cookies!
3. Once the beans are used up after a couple of infusions, the seeds inside are delicious in baked goods!