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Last year my cousin Jill shared a recipe with me that she and her sister, my cousin Laura, have made for many years. She said, “once you make your own vanilla you will never want to use any other!” As the Christmas season came fast and furious I ran out of time to share it in time for your gift gifting.
But make vanilla I did! And just as Jill and Laura promised — it is fabulous!
NOW is the right time to prepare for this easy and yet fabulous gift for this year.
Because I am an overachiever, I started out with 64 ounces of white rum. I left a good amount of it in the larger container but poured some off into a couple of glass pints. (See recipe below.) Once a week I shook each container replacing it in a cool, dark place.
After about 6 weeks I was ready to taste-test my first batch of vanilla. The fragrance is strong and lovely. I particularly like the little specks of vanilla bean that stay in the vanilla. (You can strain it if you prefer.)
I have used vanilla from this little bottle all year-long and have refilled it a time or two already!
Happy Gift Giving!
- 3 to 5 vanilla beans
- 8 ounces alcohol such as vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces, depending on the size of the bottles you will use.
- Place the vanilla beans in a jar and cover with alcohol making sure they are completely submerged. Add sugar (optional).
- Infuse for at least 1 month. Shake the bottle and place in a cool, dark spot, shaking once or twice a week.
- After a month taste the extract and let it infuse longer if you want a stronger flavor.
- When extract is ready you may wish to remove the vanilla pods and decant the vanilla.
- Divide into smaller bottles. Vanilla beans can be removed or one or two pieces can be left in each bottle.
Madagascar beans are my favorite, but Mexican beans or other varieties can be used, depending on the flavor you prefer.
*The sugar is optional.