This would have been a good DIY for me to post 3 months ago so you could make it in time to give for Christmas, but this blog didn’t exist until mid November. Don’t think you have to make this to give to others though. I like to keep it on hand because I use vanilla in pretty much every dessert recipe!
Store-bought vanilla extract is fairly expensive, but vanilla is surprisingly easy to make yourself! All you need is one 750 ml bottle of vodka, 8-10 vanilla beans, small glass bottles (I ordered mine online), and about 3 months of waiting. The vanilla beans are a little expensive, but you can reuse them by leaving them in the individual vanilla bottles and refilling the bottles with vodka when you start to run out of extract. Just wait a few weeks, and you’ll have more vanilla!
Start by taking 8-10 vanilla beans and cutting them each in half with a sharp knife. Now grab the stem/end of each half and cut down the center, keeping one end connected (like a V). This exposes the seedy insides to the vodka. Now put each half in the vodka bottle and close it tightly. Place it in a cool, dark place for about 3 months, turning it upside down once a week or so.
Over time the extract will darken in color. When it has been sitting long enough, pour the extract into individual bottles using a funnel or a cup with a spout. Add 2 or 3 vanilla beans (from the vodka bottle) so they can keep seasoning the extract and can be reused. If desired, decorate the bottles and give them as gifts (or keep them yourself!).
Vanilla extract is so easy and makes a great gift! Pin or bookmark this now and save it for when you need party favors, hostess gifts, etc. Just be sure to plan ahead!