Homemade Vanilla Extract is simple to make and quite stunning once bottled, so add it to your arsenal of homemade gifts this holiday season (and don’t forget to pair it with Healthyish cake mixes).
The gift giving season can be stressful, or it can be a chance to get crafty, create something personal, and in our case, finish with something sweet. This holiday season, we’re skipping the typical shopping mayhem and focusing on the homemade.
Homemade Vanilla Extract is super simple. It’s just alcohol and vanilla beans, but once bottled, it’s a super classy gift that the baker in your life will appreciate.
We may be biased, but we recommend pairing your Homemade Vanilla Extract with a few Healthish Baking Kits for a thematic present for the sweet tooth on your list. Or, pair the extract with a Healthyish Cake Flavored Sugar Scrub.
For even more gifting, divide the homemade vanilla extract between smaller bottles, and you have a thoughtful host(ess) gift this season.
For the fullest flavor, homemade vanilla extract takes about 30 days to infuse, so include a note with your gift, telling your recipient when they can begin to use it.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
Adapted from the Kitchn
3 to 5 vanilla beans
8 ounces alcohol such as vodka, bourbon, brandy, or rum
What You’ll Need:
Cutting board and knife
Clean jar or bottle
New bottle(s) for packaging (optional)
Small funnel (optional)
Coffee filter (optional)
Split each vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Then make additional cuts if need be to fit your bottle.
The standard ratio is 3 to 5 vanilla beans per 8 oz of alcohol. Place the vanilla beans in a jar(s) and cover with alcohol accordingly. Make sure the vanilla beans are completely submerged. Cover the jar or bottle and give it a good shake.
Store the jar or bottle of vanilla beans in a cool, dark place for at least one month, shaking it from time to time. Taste the extract and let it infuse longer if you want a stronger flavor.
After 30 days, you can remove the vanilla pods and decant the extract into a pretty bottle. For a clear extract, strain the extract through a coffee filter to remove the small flecks of vanilla. You can also leave the beans in the alcohol and top off the bottle as you use the extract. Eventually all the flavor will be extracted from the original vanilla beans, so you can periodically add fresh beans as well as leftover pods that you’ve scraped for other recipes.
Quelcy is a Pittsburgh based food stylist, photographer, dessert advocate and crazy dog lady. She shares seasonally inspired recipes rooted in nostalgia on her blog, WithTheGrains.com. Her favorite Healthish combo is tangy lemon cake with a dollop of dark chocolate frosting.