Thursday, July 21, 2016


Homemade vanilla extract can be made with different types of vanilla beans and different types of alcohol. However, when you're making your first batch, it's nice to have everything spelled out for you. That's what I try to do here.

Decanted in bottles of 2, 4, or 8 ounces, labeled, with a ribbon or twine around the neck of the bottle, homemade vanilla extract makes a fine gift for the bakers you love.

Vanilla  Extract
Makes 3 cups

16 Grade B Madagascar vanilla beans (I paid $16 for Grade A)
750 milliliters Wild Turkey 101 bourbon whiskey (I paid $20)

1. Uncork bourbon. Pour out an ounce or two of bourbon and place in small jar.
2. Use dull knife to flatten and smooth out beans.
3. Split beans lengthwise, leaving an inch uncut at one end.
4. Insert beans into neck of bourbon bottle.
5. Replace cork and shake. Push down vanilla beans with a chopstick if necessary.
6. Add enough of the reserved bourbon to cover vanilla beans.
7. Place bourbon bottle and reserved jar of bourbon in cool, dark place
8. For four to six months, shake bourbon bottle every day or two, adding reserved bourbon as necessary to keep vanilla beans covered. If reserved bourbon runs out, any bourbon may be used to top off the bottle.
9. Vanilla extract can be decanted into smaller bottles, using a funnel. Vanilla beans can be removed if desired. Vanilla extract can be filtered through a coffee filter to remove vanilla seeds.

NOTE: Madagascar vanilla beans give a classic, robust flavor. Tahitian vanilla beans give a subtly fruity and floral flavor. Mexican vanilla beans give a smooth and somewhat spicy flavor.

Vanilla beans can be ordered on Beanilla Trading Company is another source; their beans are distributed by Spice Jungle.

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