Saturday, August 15, 2009
Homemade Vanilla Extract
My latest Cooks Illustrated (or was it Cooks Country?) talked about making your own vanilla extract. Their favorite brand had been McCormicks until they made their own. They gave a simple recipe so I tried it. First let me say, it was NOT cheap. My bottle of vodka alone cost about $14. But the most expensive part was the vanilla beans. I needed 4 beans for my 3 cups of vodka. I had nowhere else to purchase them last minute but the grocery store. I paid $12 for a bottle of 2 stinkin beans. $24 for 2 bottles!!!!!! I know I know, I can find them online for a lot cheaper but I was on a mission and wanted to start my extract soaking immediately!! 3 cups of vodka and 4 whole beans, scraped of their seeds placed in a jar to sit for a week. Shake lightly a couple of times a day. The seeds and bean pod all get thrown in there. The extract is cloudy with bits of vanilla beans floating around everywhere. You can strain it if you want but I like the dark bits floating around. As often as I bake, this 3 cups of extract will not last me long. I can't tell the difference really in the things that I have baked over the past week but it still feels pretty special to have made my own extract.