diy vanilla extract

I'm so excited to share this little goodie! This is something I made years ago for Christmas presents and it has lasted years.

Boom. Self explanatory [although that won't stop me]. The best part about this is how easily you can customize it. You can buy your own bottles or use the small ones like the one above. The first time I made them I used pint sized jars [that's a real friend]. I used a cheaper vodka since I was making it for a lot of people. It's not like shots were going around and I was worried about hangovers. Except for my mother.


This time around I kept it simple and used the single bottles. Aren't they adorable? Next, find some vanilla beans. If you thought the vodka was pricey, think again. Ever wonder why vanilla extract is so expensive?? I'm not sure why most bakers aren't broke and drunk. They ought to be. 

When I did my big batch, I ordered them on ebay ahead of time. But maybe you're like me... you're making a last minute post and running through the grocery store like a wild nut. You ask a store clerk where the vanilla beans are. You know they're there. You got them here another time. He doesn't know what a vanilla bean is. Maybe it's in the canned bean section? Oh, my. But then he will ask another fella and that man will know that they're hidden in a spice jar with all the other spices. You can narrow him down thanks to his $12 price tag. 

Um yeah. That's why you need to go buy in bulk, chica. And you can store the rest in the fridge wrapped in saran wrap. Or vacuum pack them. Or store them in sugar. As kjente2 put it so eloquently, "air is the enemy." 

So back on track. Buy vanilla beans and shake your head as you check out, pondering if you've just single-handedly surpassed your credit limit. Take them home and slit those suckers. Right down the center. Like they did you wrong. If you're feeling guilty, look at your receipt and continue. Physically defiguring these bad boys will help the flavor seep into the vodka. Warn them that yes, this will sting. Don't de-seed them. We don't want to go too far. There are laws, ya know. 

So why am I telling you about a Christmas gift at the end of July? Am I completely off my rocker?! Not today. I had coffee. Thing is, this magical occurrence takes place between these two love birds but it can take awhile. Like 3-6 months awhile. So let these nuggets sit in the dark, in the back of the fridge or cupboard. Forgotten about until you're stuffing those stockings. And then they'll be all like 'heyyy gurl. check us out.' Dirty vanilla extract.

On a random side note. Don't say 'locals' in Philadelphia [and other northern territories, I'm assuming]. It totally gives away the small town southern girl you were hiding. Now they know that you've been on the subway a handful of times. And that you use google directions to get everywhere anywhere. That you're a recluse and rarely get out, if only to eat or find toilet paper [er... eat food, not toilet paper]. They'll smirk at the pride you had for finding the parking lot and using a shuttle to get to work. But really, that was pretty awesome. 

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