Monday, September 20, 2010

make your own vanilla extract

do you know how easy it is to make your own vanilla extract?!  i didn't.  michael had mentioned how awesome it would be if i made my own vanilla extract a month or so ago and i shrugged it off, assuming it would be a daunting task but after having too much time to spend on baking blogs this weekend i found out from joy the baker that making vanilla extract would be immediately added to my monday to do list.  really, it is SO EASY.  you really have to try it.

what you will need:  1 cup of bourbon, 3 vanilla beans, and a pint jar.  that's it!

use a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down the center of the vanilla beans, leaving about an inch at the top and bottom of the vanilla bean uncut.  next cut the vanilla beans in half so that they can fully be emerged in bourbon.  put the vanilla beans in a pint sized mason jar.  next dump the cup of bourbon into the jar and shake shake shake!  now store it in a dark place for 2 months, visiting the jar every week or so to shake it up again.
  some people opt to scrape the vanilla beans into the jar to add a little more vanilla flavor i guess.  i didn't see this as a necessary step, but feel free to do it if you want.

as far as vanilla beans go, i used the madagascar variety because it was readily available but feel free to use tahitian or mexican if you want!  joy says this about vanilla beans "Madagascar beans are powerful, dark, full vanilla flavor beans.    Tahitian beans remind me of vanilla figs- fruity and floral.  The Mexican variety has just a hint of sweet creaminess," and i think that's a great way to explain them.  also, some people prefer to use vodka or rum when making their vanilla extract but i am a real nielson massey madagascar bourbon vanilla extract snob, so for my first time around i just had to use bourbon.  i would like to try the vodka-mexican vanilla bean combo in the future though.

so look forward to rosy girl baked goods using her own exclusive vanilla extract in 2 months!  also if you are lucky enough to be my close friend, you might be getting some vanilla this christmas ;)

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