Vanilla. Who doesn't love Vanilla? First, I am somewhat biased because I am low-key obsessed with the flavor that Vanilla, more specifically Vanilla extract, adds to my cakes and desserts. To be completely honest. It doesn't matter if you prefer pure Vanilla or Imitation Vanilla. They are fantastic and enhance the flavor of any dessert. Vanilla extract is my favorite flavoring by far, and I use it in all of my cake recipes, including Lemon cake. Surprised? I also love using vanilla bean paste in my cheesecakes as it provides such a lovely taste and makes me happy when I see the bean speckles flowing throughout the batter. Next level!
What if I told you that you could make your very own Vanilla extract using two straightforward ingredients and steps. Well, look no further. I have listed the recipe and steps below for your convenience. All you need are these two very simple ingredients: vodka and vanilla beans.
5–6 vanilla beans (1/2 ounce or 15g total)
1 cup (8 ounces; 240ml) 80 proof vodka (or bourbon, brandy, or even rum)
8-ounce bottle or jar with a tight seal
Step 1: Use a sharp knife to slit the vanilla beans down the middle to open and expose the beans.
Step 2: Place slit vanilla bean pods into your sterile bottle or jar.
Step 3: Using a funnel, pour vodka or your choice of liquor in the jar, ensuring that all vanilla bean pods are fully submerged.
Step 4: Shake and Store. Shake the jar and reshake once a week for about eight weeks. Jars should have an airtight lid.
Notes: Vanilla extract can be ready for use after eight weeks. The maximum flavor is achieved in about 12 months; however, your Vanilla extract should reach optimal flavor in about six months.
After use, you can replace vodka and give a reshake, and if stored and maintained correctly can last about one year. You can also replace vanilla bean pods; always remember to give a good shake with all replacements.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Recipes.