Ah, the best laid plans… or intentions. What is it they say? I don’t know. Got so overwhelmed by scheduling all of the remaining tornado reconstruction over the past couple of days that I had a mini breakdown yesterday. Awesome. Don’t really know up from down today! This has to be done before that, THIS can be done only on weekends… we need a permit for that, and THAT takes X number of days… don’t forget to buy X,Y, and Z before we do THAT… man, it gets overwhelming. Never mind that we’re talking about several major projects – kitchen, bathroom, patio, and deck… concurrently!
So, my big plans to do a week of cookie recipes went right out the window. Sorry about that! If you need a cookie fix, you should invest in the ridiculous shopping list of ingredients required for my “Sweet Ecstasy Cookies” recipe, and make a batch. I swear it’s worth the cost and effort. Insanely addictive!
So I’m planning a special blog entry for tomorrow, and realized that I haven’t posted an extract recipe yet. Well, it comes in handy for tomorrow’s recipe, so here we go – how to make your own vanilla extract at home! (This involves a couple of months of waiting, so plan ahead.)
The first chapter of my first cookbook(“The Spirited Baker“) is all about making ingredients from – and for – liqueurs and cocktails. Sweet and sour mix, various syrups – including homemade grenadine.. SO much better than the store bought versions! – and even various baking extracts.
Just be forewarned: Once you’ve tried fresh, pure, homemade ingredients, you’ll have a very hard time settling for their commercially available counterparts in the future!
Making flavor extracts at home can be rewarding on several levels. It can be more economical, provide a better tasting product, provide *more* of a product (convenience!), and also allow for a greater variety. In addition to being great to use in your own kitchen, homemade vanilla extract makes an excellent gift for the foodies on your holiday list. Present the extract in a pretty bottle, add a vanilla bean for added visual interest, and maybe wrap a ribbon around it. Done!
Homemade Vanilla Extract.
3 cups good quality vodka*
8 Vanilla beans
Cut vanilla beans in half, lengthwise. Place in a sterilized glass jar or bottle, cover with vodka. Store in a cool dark place for 2 – 4 months, giving the jar an occasional shake. Strain out the vanilla beans and bottle
*If you so desire, try using a less-than-neutral spirit for a more complex taste. Rum, Bourbon, Brandy – all can produce an interesting variation on vanilla extract!