I found this recipe on a food blog and couldn't wait to try it out. Nothing could be more easy and it tastes great! You just need some good quality rum or vodka, vanilla beans and a clean bottle.
You can get vanilla beans at the Bulk Barn, and I've seen them at the Superstore as well. If you really want good quality beans there are lots of places to order them online, but you would have to be a real foodie because they usually come in large quantities. Vanilla beans are a bit pricey but their flavour is long-lasting is well worth the initial investment. Not to mention the fun of making your own vanilla!
The alcohol preserves the vanilla, and burns off with cooking. Because vodka is flavourless, the vanilla taste comes through unhindered, but rum adds another dimension. I tried it with rum and find that it adds a little je-ne-sais-quoi to whatever I am cooking. If you think about it, anything you would flavour with vanilla would only be improved with a hint of rum - cookies, cakes, crêpes, custards... Essentially, you just need a liquor that is 40% alcohol, so take your pick.
We were lucky enough to go to Cuba last May. I used some of the quality rum we brought back to make this bottle of vanilla. So. Good. Also, Value Village is a great place to find little unique bottles that are perfect for making vanilla. That's where I found this great little one with a cork!
Homemade Vanilla Extract
- Clean glass jar or bottle
- 3 vanilla beans
- About 1 cup 40% alcohol of your choice (enough to fill your jar or bottle)
Slice open the beans to expose the seeds. Then simply place the beans in your glass container and cover with the liquor! Shake and place in a cool, dark place. Shake it a couple times a week and it should be ready in about 8 weeks. Use it as you would store-bought vanilla.
You can just replenish it with more liquor and an occasional bean to keep it going a LONG time.