It’s 2 weeks before Christmas (ok not really but let’s imagine) and you drew your Aunt Rhonda’s name for the gift exchange. You have no idea what to get her, and you are tired of just picking some random gifts from the store that you think she may enjoy. You realize that you are at a point in your life where you want gifts to be meaningful and not just giving the gift for the sake of giving. You then remember that she is an avid baker but that she already owns almost every baking appliance and gadget out there.
Since you fancy yourself as a fellow crafter and maker you appreciate her art of baking and realize that your answer is to make her something useful that she can use in her baking. And almost every baker uses vanilla at some point in almost every recipe. Homemade Vanilla Extract it is!
I actually made vanilla extract for my Dad’s extended family a couple years ago. Each family makes or give something.. It usually ranges from cookies, candies, frozen lasagnas or caramel corn. I like to change it up each year and create something different.
This is a great gift idea but does take some planning if you want the receiver to be able to use the vanilla right away. It needs to sit for at least 12 weeks to let the vanilla flavor permeate the vodka. Yes, you read that right, all you need is a vanilla bean, vodka, and a bottle to create the vanilla extract. I am actually still using some of the jars that I had made two years ago. The flavor has fully developed and it still works great in any recipe that calls for vanilla.
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- Vanilla Beans (I have found that online is the cheapest option if are in need of a larger quantity)
- Vodka (unflavored)
- Glass bottles (these are the ones I prefer)
- Small funnel (for pouring the vodka into the bottles)
- Sticker Paper (for printing labels)
For my 4oz bottles I used one and a half vanilla beans. I would advise not to skimp on this as the vanilla bean is what is giving your extract the flavor. Because my bottles were small I cut the vanilla bean in half. Now I have heard of some who cut open the bean and expose the seeds. I don’t think this is necessary and that you will still get the same flavor with leaving the bean in tack or cut in half.
Pour the vodka into the bottle to the top and seal with lid.
Label the bottles and patiently wait 12 weeks until first use! Now if you weren’t able to start this in time for it to be ready to use upon receipt you can just put a date on your bottles as to when it will be ready to use. I have created a free printable for printing your own labels at home.
Click here if you are making at least 12 for a full sheet of labels.
Click here if you are making 1-4 bottles for a partial sheet of labels. (Saves your precious label paper!)
ENJOY! And happy gift giving!