I love Vanilla! Vanilla candles, Vanilla room sprays, Vanilla cake, Vanilla ice cream… The smell and taste of it just makes me happy; and as much as I like to bake, none of the flavors really savor my palette quite like Vanilla does. Some people think it’s kind of boring, however, it’s the most popular flavor worldwide and is used to enhance other flavors – especially in chocolate. How’s that for boring?!
Shortly after I had my son, I went into this stage of making all my food from scratch, like most new moms do. This eventually lead to my curiosity in homemade extracts. Why have I never done this before? I don’t know, but this is my third year making it now. It heightens the flavor in my desserts and blends really well.
If you search the internet, you’ll find that some people use Vodka as the base for a more neutral taste, however, you can use Bourbon, Rum, or Brandy as well. I chose to use Bourbon and Brandy.
I purchased the Madagascar and Tahitian Vanilla beans from Amazon.
I paired the Madagascar Vanilla with Bourbon and the Tahitian Vanilla with Brandy. The two vanillas vary in flavor, so I wantedto see which one I’d like better. Tahitian Vanilla is light and floral. Madagascar vanilla has a pure, strong flavor.
As I stated in the description for my Orange Bourbon Extract, it will take approximately 6 weeks before it’s ready for use… 8 weeks would be even better. I stored it in a cool, dark place in my kitchen and will give it a gentle shake every couple of days or at least once a week. Once the extract is ready, I can either remove the vanilla beans or leave them in to deepen the flavor over time.
If you ever have a chance to taste different types of Vanilla, you should try it. The ice cream brand Choctal has four flavors of vanilla ice cream – Indonesian, Madagascar, Mexican, and Papa New Guinea. All of them are delicious! I discovered the brand at an event in LA called, Artisanal LA a couple of years ago.
Anywho, this inspired me to experiment with other spices to create another extract. I used Tahitian Vanilla beans, whole cinnamon sticks, spices, dried orange peel, and Brandy. It sounds yummy, right? I imagine that it would be wonderful, but we’ll have to see the results in a couple of weeks.
As a side note, homemade vanilla extracts would be perfect as a party favor in small bottles or as a gift. Especially for one of those elephant games many play at work, or give it to a coworker/friend/family member who loves to bake. I know I would be over the moon excited if I received this as a gift. Hey, it’s the little things that count!
Peace and Love!
Homemade Extract: Vanilla Bourbon + Vanilla Brandy
Vanilla Bourbon or Vanilla Brandy Extract
- Vanilla Beans
- Bourbon, Brandy, or Vodka
- Air tight glass jar or bottle
- sharp knife
Directions1. As a rule of thumb, use 6-8 Vanilla beans (1 oz) per 8 oz of alcohol.
2. Split each Vanilla bean down the middle. Feel free to cut in smaller pieces if your have a small, short jar.
3. Place the beans in a glass container and cover with alcohol, filling it all the way to the top. Make sure that the beans are completely covered.
4. Put the lid on tight and store in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks before first use. Gently shake container at least once a week.
5. When the extract is ready, use it the same as you would any store bought vanilla.