homemade vanilla extract & liqueur

homemade vanilla extractVanilla is one of the most popular and beloved flavors in baking.  Warm, sweet and so versatile, I can’t get enough of it.  Not only does it enhance everything from ice cream to cakes to sauces, I love it in coffee and tea as well as an after-dinner beverage.

Pure vanilla extract can be pricey ~ so if you’re like me and use a lot of this elixir, making it from scratch is practical, economical and, I find, a lot of fun.  All it takes is a jar, vanilla bean pods and, for an extract, I like to use dark rum.

  • Cut four or five vanilla bean pods in halves or thirds; small enough so they’ll easily fit in an 8-ounce mason jar
  • Split pods down the center to expose all the beans
  • Place them into the jar and fill it to the top with the rum
  • It’s important that the pods are completely submerged in the liquid to avoid spoilage; double check this and cut pods smaller if needed
  • Place plastic wrap over mouth of the jar then screw on lid securely
  • Shake jar vigorously
  • Label and date; store in a cool dark place and shake daily for at least 6 weeks

That’s it!  The extract will only get stronger {and better} with age, so I just leave the vanilla in the jar and use a dropper or spoon to take out a bit whenever I need it.  After a while, to keep the pods submerged I either snip them into smaller chunks with scissors or just top off the jar with a bit of rum every now and then.  The other option is to eventually remove the pods.

homemade vanilla brandy

A much lighter ~ drinkable ~ version of vanilla extract is vanilla-flavored brandy.  Same process only less concentrated:  I just put a few split pods into a litre of brandy and let it sit for a month or so.  Again, I shake it up daily to keep the extraction process active.  Alcohol is very good at extracting so all it needs is a little help with a jiggle once a day.

This type of brandy infusion can also be made into a liqueur by adding simple sugar syrup or honey; spices such as clove and cinnamon; pear halves, dates and raisins; even orange peel for a Grand-Marnier-style apertif.

12 comments on “homemade vanilla extract & liqueur

  1. soffiagudrun says:

    This is a brilliant recipe.

  2. goodoldgirl says:

    I have to try this! Thanks.

  3. [...] fann þessa uppskrift hér, en þetta er mjög skemmtilegt matarblogg með fullt af fínum uppskriftum. Like this:LikeBe the [...]

  4. soffiagudrun says:

    I tried this recipe. Look forward to use “the product” next time I bake.
    I also blogged about it (only in Icelandic so far… http://husidvidsjoinn.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/heimagerdir-vanilludropar/)

    Thanks for a great blog!

  5. tanyamhudson says:

    Never thought of making my own vanilla extract before–genius! Thanks for sharing!

  6. loosygoosey says:

    thank you-must try!

  7. [...] I used my homemade vanilla rum extract and…………. sugar…yes just plain not so healthy sugar but this would be [...]

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