This Christmas we honored our small budget by giving very little but thoughtful gifts of homemade Madagascar vanilla extract. The project was fun, cheap and very well-received. (I couldn’t share this post before the holiday and spoil the surprise though, so please excuse the timing!) Click through to read about how we made homemade vanilla extract.
It’s no secret that I love to bake. Consequently, we plow through a lot of vanilla extract over the course of a year. So when I saw an ad for refillable vanilla extract in a magazine, I was hooked. I showed the idea to Caveman, who reacted with that oh-so-classic-him phrase that I’ve come to both love and fear over the past six years of marriage: “I could make that.” This time I was on board. We researched recipes for creating our own homemade vanilla extract. The process went like this:
Choose your flava’
The dubya-dubya-dubya has a plethora of recipes that use different types of liquor to do the extracting, resulting in different flavors of vanilla. We chose to use vodka and grabbed two bottles from our local steel-bars-inside-the-windows-shop, which we had never set foot in before.
Get yo’ supplies
We ordered bulk Madagascar vanilla beans (which apparently will yield a “rich and creamy” extract) online—a 1/4 lb for about $16. Then we chose a simple 8 oz glass bottle to use and bought a dozen for about $30. (Hello Amazon Prime and free shipping!)
Put it all together and shake it all about
Caveman and I stayed up late (which for us means 10:00 p.m.) on Sunday night. One of us cut the vanilla beans—first in half lengthwise, then in half again to fit inside the bottle. Then we dropped the beans in the bottles and poured vodka over the top. We may or may not have attempted a shot each and then ended up spitting into the sink and downing milk to chase.
Wait and decorate
We closed up the bottles and let them sit for a few weeks before gifting, shaking them every week or so. Vanilla needs at least 8 weeks to fully extract and darken (it will be tastier the longer it sits).
I scrounged some packing paper and cute ribbons from around the Shoebox and got to decorating during nap times. Crafty crafty!
The best part about this homemade vanilla extract is that we can add more vodka to the bottle whenever it gets low. Truly the gift that keeps on giving, these bottles should last months and months! Hooray for sweet treats.
Our extract won’t be ready until February 1, so I can’t even tell you how amazing it is. But I’m excited to find out! What should I bake first?!?