How to make homemade vanilla extract, a great holiday gift or personal treat!
*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Beanilla. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. *
I seriously love vanilla beans. I tend to hoard them and save them for desserts that seem extra special and worth the high-end ingredient splurge, and when I do use them, I find that the flavor is always so much better. A few examples of recipes that are packed and enhanced with serious vanilla bean flavor:
- No Churn Oreo Fudge Swirl Ice Cream
- Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
- Vanilla Bean Apple Bundt Cake (Matt was obsessed with this one)
- Vanilla Bean Layer Cake with Whipped Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Vanilla Bean Bourbon Nectarine Bundt Cake <-I used the Beanilla bourbon vanilla beans in this one!
So when I had the opportunity to work with Beanilla, I jumped at the chance to sample their products and expand my pantry collection of just basic vanilla beans. In addition to vanilla-related products (I really need to try their vanilla bean paste next!) and different flavor extracts, they offer vanilla extract kits and nice jars for making your own vanilla extract at home. Since, when it comes to baking, I’m always adamant that the quality of certain products (in particular baking chocolate, cocoa and vanilla extract) makes a huge difference in the dessert, I thought it would be fun and worthwhile to make my own vanilla extract.
Turns out it is extremely easy and definitely worthwhile. All you need is a few vanilla beans, an alcohol of choice and a resealable jar. Plus, homemade extract can make a great gift for any of your friends that like baking. If you start now, you can make a few batches to give out for the holidays!
For this batch, I chose to pair the bourbon vanilla beans with, well, bourbon, so that I end up with a vanilla that has a nice rich flavor. Plus, Matt loves all things bourbon and desserts that are full of that great vanilla bean flavor so I have a feeling he will be very happy when I start baking with this.
- 5-8 vanilla beans
- 237 milliliters / 8 fluid ounces alcohol of choice (I recommend a mid-level vodka, rum, bourbon or brandy)
- Slice vanilla beans open lengthwise (do not cut pod in half) so that inside beans will be exposed; you can cut them in half in the other direction if they are too tall to fit into your container
- Place vanilla beans in container of choice and pour in alcohol; make sure vanilla beans are completely submerged in the liquid
- Seal jar and give it a shake
- Store in a cool dark place for two months, checking on the jar every couple of weeks and giving it a shake at that point
- After two months, use vanilla extract as desired
Make vanilla extract two months (or more) in advance for best results