March 13, 2012

DIY - Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Why are there no good TV shows on Monday nights?  And whatever happened to the re-make of the Charlie's Angels show?  I watched a few episodes of it and I liked it, then it was just gone.  OK, it wasn't the greatest show in the world but neither was the original.....let's face it, it was a little cheesy. I really liked the movie though.  My husband and I went to see it at the theatre, and as is normal when I see a movie that is all about girl power, I was a little wound up when we left the theatre.  I was ready to kick some butt!  Later that night my husband was in bed and I  ran into the room and jumped on the bed and proceeded to show him my karate moves.  Oh yeah, a really sweet jump and kick combo....too bad I didn't remember the ceiling fan was on!  The look on my husband's face when my head hit the fan was priceless....I will never forget that moment and how hard he laughed at me, after asking if I was alright of course!  Thankfully only my ego was bruised :)

Two years ago I decided I was going to make some homemade vanilla extract to give away for Christmas.  I thought it was a good idea....I know I'd love to get a jar of homemade vanilla, so I hope the people I gave it to enjoyed it!  Turns out that homemade vanilla has a much better flavor than the store bought stuff, so I am officially committed to never buying vanilla extract again.  From my research I discovered that it keeps for an indefinite amount of time.  You can just keep adding more alcohol and switch out the vanilla beans once in a while, and it's good forever......well maybe not forever, but you get the idea. 

Homemade Vanilla Extract

6 premium grade vanilla beans - don't skimp and buy the dried up ones
2 cups of vodka - or some combination of vodka, brandy or Bourbon (I'll top off my jar when it gets low with whatever I have on hand, as long as it's 80 proof)

Split the vanilla beans the long way with scissors but leave the last inch uncut.  Add the beans and the alcohol to a glass container with an airtight lid.  Make sure the beans are completely covered with the alcohol.  Put in a cupboard out of light and then all you do is wait - I like to wait at least 8 weeks before using it. 

Adding rum to the mixture will give the extract some sweetness.  Most store bought varieties add simple syrup to sweeten it, but I prefer adding a little rum.  Enjoy!

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