Wednesday, October 15, 2008

vanilla extract: make your own

I was excited to find a good use for this cool bottle I've had sitting in my cupboard for 10 years

I finally got around to making my own vanilla extract. I had a huge bottle of vodka left over from making ice cream and pie crust, which only require a couple tablespoons each per batch. Since I'm a teetotaler, I have to do something with the stuff besides drown my sorrows. So let the experiment begin. Day 1 was easy: mix 1 cup vodka with two sliced open vanilla beans, seal, shake, store. Apparently, I have to wait about 2 months before it's ready, shaking it occasionally to assist the infusion. I'll report back with the results.

Meanwhile... I've been told that vanilla sugar (readily available here) actually adds more flavor than vanilla extract, because with extract, the alcohol evaporates, taking some of the flavor with it. I don't know if I believe this - my baked goods taste plenty vanilla-y for me. But in the interest of food science, I've also started a jar of vanilla sugar (stick a sliced open vanilla bean in a jar with sugar and let it sit for awhile, refresh with a new bean as necessary). If I have the energy, I'll do some taste tests.

As previously mentioned, vanilla beans are dirt cheap here: 2.40sfr for 3 beans.


Alice said...

Awesome! I had a can of vanilla sugar before I left for Switzerland using the leftover vanilla shell when I made madeleines. I hope yours turns out. I wish vanilla beans were cheaper here.

Julie Ramsay said...

Cool! Can't wait for the results.

Melody said...

I laughed when I first heard of someone making their own vanilla - until I tried it. That was six years ago and I've never bought vanilla extract since. It works with vodka or bourbon for a little more intense flavor.

As far as vanilla sugar - OMG! I keep a container going all the time. It is wonderful for creme brulee, coffee, french toast...the list goes on.

You will never go back my friend.

Elise said...

Very cool bottle! Perfect for pouring out homemade vanilla extract.

swissscrapper said...

I am going to buy vanilla beans and bourbon tomorrow to do this. I have been less than satisfied with my vanilla extract from America lately. I miss the good stuff we used to buy in Mexico. This is so exciting!
Thanks for sharing.

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