Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thrifty Vanilla Bean Extract

Tiss the season for family, friends, baking and food. And Christmas would just not be the same without some home-made cookies. And cookies would just not be cookies without some good old vanilla! We are using vanilla constantly this time of year and with the price of vanilla as it is now days, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Orange Juice Container

   As I was talking to my mother, we some how ventured onto the subject of making vanilla extract. What a genius idea! Doing some research into it, I found out how easy it was and how economical it was to make such an extravagant ingredient. Here is the recipe:
Split the Beans Down the Center

3 Vanilla Beans  (split down the center)
1 cup(8oz) Vodka (70-80 proof)
1 Glass Jar with Tight Lid

Add Vodka to Jars

1 Use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, and leaving an inch at the end connected.
2 Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (I used a cute little orange juice jar). Cover completely with the vodka.
3 Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.
This stuff will lasts for years.  As you use it, keep refilling with vodka every once in a while, just remember to give it a good shake.

Trader Joe's Vanilla Beans $2.49
   But wait there is more! If you have any left over vanilla beans, stick them into a jar of white granulated sugar. This is a great way to add an awesome vanilla flavor to your baking...a double whammy! 

I found the vanilla beans at Trader Joe's, they were super cheap. They were being sold 2 for $2.49. Since the recipe called for three beans I broke down the prices for everything. If you are unfortunate enough not to have a Trader Joe's in your neck of the woods, here is a website that has some beans for sale.

                                           $1.25(per bean) x 3 beans   = $3.74
    8oz Vodka = $3.38
    Total Price = $7.12

Great Gift Idea
I did a online comparison of prices and I found an 8oz Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract for $12.99 + shipping! For just one bottle that is a savings of over $5.87! Plus you can keep topping off the bottle you made to keep the supply going! Who would have known that making delicious vanilla extract could be so easy and fun!