This tasty recipe for homemade vanilla extract is the perfect gift and includes printable labels and gift tags to make your life easier. Believe it or not, all you need is two ingredients and time. It takes about 8 weeks for the extract to be ready for use so plan ahead.
Anyone who bakes will love having some homemade vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract at the grocery store is much more expensive than imitation however, the difference in taste in my opinion is even more of an issue.
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Homemade Vanilla Extract
Place the cut beans and vodka in a sealed container then place it in a cool dark spot for 8 weeks or longer.
Making Vanilla Extract
- Cut the vanilla beans into 2-inch pieces.
- Add them to a large glass jar.
- Add vodka.
- Set the jar in a cool dark place for 8 weeks or more.
- Strain the beans if desired with a coffee filter.
- Pour into individual amber glass bottles
What Type of Vanilla Beans Should I Use?
From what I've read most people use Tahitian or Madagascar vanilla beans for making extracts. There is also a Mexican vanilla bean that is said to have a spicy flavor. I chose Tahitian for the price and quantity that I could easily get online. Some say it has more of a sweetness than the others. After I made it I can't say that I really noticed any sweetness but it had a wonderful vanilla scent.
What type of liquor should I use to infuse the vanilla beans in?
A good 80 proof vodka is considered the best for the extract. Vodka because it has a neutral flavor and will let the vanilla beans shine. You could also try other liquors such as rum. And, you don't really need top-shelf vodka, a good mid-level brand works just fine.
How many beans should you use?
Ratios of beans to liquor vary. Many suggest using 3 beans for every 6 ounces of liquor. Since I had about 25 ounces of vodka (750 ml) that would mean I needed 12 beans. However, I knew that I wanted to make this quick so I doubled my bean amount and used a package of 25 beans. You could use less and experiment with the time it takes to get the color and taste you are looking for.
After at least 8 weeks the vanilla extract is ready to use or decant. Longer would be even better but as you can see with the number of beans I used, this batch is already looking nice and dark. It smells great too. And, I used it to make a batch of cookies already and I loved the flavor.
You may want to strain the infusion. Otherwise, you will end up with flecks of the beans in your extract. However, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, some people may prefer having pretty vanilla bean flecks.
I decided to go with amber glass bottles that hold 2 ounces each. Amber glass bottles to shield it from the light. The size is close to what you get in the grocery store and will yield about 12 teaspoons. Since most recipes call for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, I thought 12 was a good number to give as a small holiday gift. If you end up using large bottles you may even consider adding a bean or two to the bottle.
The bottles I purchased came with this handy dandy funnel but it isn't necessary.
How long will the vanilla extract last?
Some say vanilla extract will last indefinitely. However, I'd probably want to use it within 1-2 years. Another good reason for creating small bottle batches.
If you enjoy this label I made, feel free to click on it and print out your own. I printed it on craft labels (see link above in the supply list) but you could easily print them out on any type of paper and glue them to the bottles.
In addition, feel free to print out these cute little Christmas gift tags if you wish. Just click on the image above.
Or, you may want to package your vanilla in these cute handmade holiday gift bags.
Just about everyone I know likes to cook or bake at least occasionally, so these homemade vanilla extract bottles make for a very practical and special gift.