My husband came into the kitchen and asked me what in the world was I doing with a full bottle of brandy out on the counter. When I told him I was making homemade vanilla extract he apparently thought I had lost it. Not to worry people, I still have it.
I am still lusting over this cookbook written by Chef John D. Folse. I have too many pages marked in the 800+ page book to mention. But, I do intend to get through at least a few of them a month. All of the good recipes/kitchen successes will be mentioned on here, such as this recipe for vanilla extract. All of the others will be buried forever.
Let's get started, shall we?
There are many thoughts on making your own vanilla. Some people think you should use a dark glass bottle and others prefer only using vodka, since it is a neutral flavor that won't mask the vanilla. You can also use brandy or bourbon, but understand that these liquids will impart a bit of their flavor to your extract.
4 vanilla beans, split, scraped and chopped into 1-inch pieces.
1 pint bourbon, vodka, or brandy
Split and scrape the beans and get out all of that mushy goodness in the middle.
Pour your liquid into a bottle of your choice. I used an old bottle with a cork-based stopper. It is frosted glass, but will sit in a dark corner of my kitchen.
Place vanilla beans and scraping into your bottle of preferred liquid. Place cap on bottle and tighten. Allow to steep 1-6 months, depending on the strength you wish to achieve, longer is better. Shake bottle occasionally to disperse ingredients. It will keep indefinitely. You can continue to add alcohol to the bottle as extract is used. When your mixture has reached idea flavor for cooking, you may strain beans from the liquid using a coffee filter and return extract to the bottle. There is no need to refrigerate.
Mine will sit in this darkish spot, where I can still see it to remember to shake it from time to time. This project took mere minutes and will form an extract with a richer flavor than store bought.