A few years ago, we received an interesting Christmas gift from my husband’s aunt. A fifth of vodka and a few vanilla beans in a test tube, along with a note explaining how to make our own homemade vanilla extract. This was about the time I really got into making more foods from scratch, and without her knowing it, she got us the perfect present.
Fast forward a few years, and that homemade vanilla is long gone, and I’ve bought a few bottles of the stuff you find at the store. Soooo not the same thing. So when my mother-in-law got me a gift card to Penzey’s, one of the items I bought were a few whole vanilla beans. Have you ever smelled vanilla beans in that form? Heavenly, I tell you.
When I received this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment of From the Bookshelf, I went through tons of pages looking for the right recipe. Then I saw this one for homemade vanilla, and that reminded me that I still needed to make more of my own. Off to the ABC I went.
(Aside, isn’t it interesting how the liquor laws vary from state to state? I grew up in Maryland where you could only buy beer, wine and liquor from a “liquor store.” Here in Virginia you can get beer and wine at the grocery store, but you have to buy your liquor from the ABC. What are the laws where you live?)
Making your own vanilla extract is so easy. Buy some vodka, put the vanilla beans in it. Let it sit in your cabinet for a few months. That’s it. The photo above is a few weeks in. The only problem is thinking far enough ahead to actually have your extract ready when you need it before you run out of the old one.
For my extract, I used Smirnoff. I’m fancy that way. From the Bookshelf went a little more high-end, and she also used more vanilla beans than I did. Our Christmas vanilla only used two beans for a fifth of vodka, so that’s what I went with also. I’m frugal with my vanilla beans! Okay, fine, I’m cheap. Whatever.
From the Bookshelf is a blog with a really cool concept. Make at least one recipe a week from the ever-growing number of cookbooks on her shelf. I should do the same. I have two cookbooks I bought in the past few weeks and, aside from reading them cover to cover once, I haven’t made anything from them. I’m inspired now to crack those open and start cooking from them.
You can find this recipe linked up to the linky parties found HERE.
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