Now that I’ve been baking more and more, I’m finding that I’m going through a lot of vanilla extract. Good vanilla extract is essential to enhancing flavours in baking (much like salt is in cooking), but it can be quite expensive. Don’t try to save some pennies by buying imitation vanilla extract, or your baked goods may have a flavour reminiscent of a candle. This is not a good thing. Unless you enjoy the flavour of candles. If that’s the case, you should probably look into some sort of medication.
Anyhoo, making vanilla extract is relatively easy. Here’s what you need:
2 cups of vodka
6 vanilla pods
1 mason jar
Cut the beans lengthwise. Put them in the jar. Cover with vodka. Wait 6-8 weeks.
And that’s it. No, really, that’s it. Almost everyone has some vodka lying around and the better the quality of vanilla beans, the better the extract will be. You can also use pods that you’ve scraped the beans from and throw that in. The longer it sits, the stronger the extract. And you’re done. I love it when things are easy.
And now for an equally easy recipe, here’s how you make vanilla sugar. Take some vanilla pods (again, I find that this even works for vanilla pods that you’ve scraped the seeds from) and throw them into a jar with about 2 cups or so of sugar. The more pods you add, the stronger the vanilla flavour. And if you’re just going to throw the pods away after scraping, you might as well save them and chuck them into the sugar. I like to mix it a little before using, so the little black flecks of vanilla can be seen throughout the sugar, but this is not crucial.
And again, you’re done. See how easy that was? You can feel smug and superior the next time you see people spending their hard earned dough on expensive vanilla extracts. “Oh, you buy vanilla extract? How odd. I just whip up my own extracts between monogramming my sheets and cold smoking my own salmon. But I guess your store-bought vanilla is just as lovely. Ahem.”