Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Sugar - Easy How To

There is no easier recipe, if you can find reasonably priced vanilla beans.  I found mine on a trip to Bali, popped them in a ziplock bag in the freezer and have never used artificial vanilla again. The flavor cannot be matched by artificial vanilla extract.  This genuine vanilla extract or essence also makes a great gift for a baker you love!

1 liter bottle of inexpensive vodka
Several (7-8 or more) vanilla bean pods

Split the vanilla beans with a sharp knife but leave them in one piece.

Pour off just enough vodka to leave room for the vanilla beans. Stuff the split beans in the bottle.

Let the vanilla beans soak for at least a month. Your extract is now ready to use to give away. My bottle is several months old so it is lovely and dark isn't filled to the top as it was when I first made it.

You can top up the vodka as needed.  I will be topping mine up as soon as I remember to buy some more cheap vodka! As you can see, I have been using it regularly these the last few months.

While you are at it, split one or two more vanilla beans and pop them in a sealable jar filled with sugar. This makes lovely vanilla-flavored sugar that is great sprinkled on breakfast crepes or in coffee or on French toast.  I use it in baking as well.  It adds a vanilla flavor to muffins like these Nutella-filled Raspberry Muffins. 

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