Friday, April 26, 2013


Want to do something that sounds really gourmet and tedious, but only takes moments and little to no kitchen experience?  Make vanilla extract.  Beyond easy.  Mostly, it just has to sit around.  If you have time to let a jar sit around, then grab some vanilla beans and vodka and here's what to do:

Begin by cutting 20 vanilla beans in half lengthwise.  (Yes, buy them in bulk, it is far cheaper than buying them "by the bean" at the local supermarket.  I get mine from

Place cut beans in a jar large enough to hold 1.75 liters of vodka.

Pour in the 1.75 liters of vodka. (I know nothing about vodka, or any alcohol for that matter.  A friend kindly helped me to find what I needed.  The long and short of it:  you don't have to buy the most expensive brand on the shelf.  That is the extent of my knowledge of all things vodka.  And it really has nothing to do with vodka itself.  It has everything to do with vanilla extract.)

In goes the vodka.

Cover and place in a cool dark place for 6 months.  Someplace safe, cool and dark.  Yes, take note. Safe, cool, and dark are imperative for vanilla storage. Once upon a time, my vanilla jar did not withstand the pressure of having another baking pan dropped on it.  No. It did not. Not even in the back of my dark and cool pantry.  But my pantry sure smelled of lovely vanilla for many weeks.  But smelling vanilla and actully having vanilla to use are two entirely different things.  Think safe.  Burn a vanilla candle in the meantime if you need to smell vanilla.

Every month or so, take a peek and give the jar a gentle turnover to mix.  Go ahead and start collecting recipes of things that call for vanilla.  Compile your cookie recipes vanilla-etically.  
You know, you had better start TWO batches.  One for you, one to share.  Go ahead and do it.  If you start right about now, your friends can all have vanilla for Christmas.  I think that is a good idea.  They will think that is a good idea too.  Go ahead and start collecting some jars in which to gift this.

Then do the hard work of letting your vanilla concoction sit. 

And after 6 months of intensive sitting look what came out the back of my dark, cool, and safer pantry:

Yeah, go grab a large jar and get going. You have some serious sitting to get done.

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