You're thinking making your own vanilla extract is tricky business, but it couldn't be further from the truth. All you're really doing soaking your favorite variety of vanilla beans in 70+ proof alcohol, mark your calendar, and voila! Homemade vanilla extract. Heavenly!
Most people use vodka because it doesn't add another flavor, but if you're looking for a brandy-scented vanilla extract (or rum-scented....that sounds decadent), it's up to you.
Here's all you need:
Vanilla beans + alcohol + tall/skinny glass bottle + time = delicious homemade vanilla extract!
1 Skinny glass bottle, since ideally you want to cover the whole bean
5-7 Vanilla Beans
1 C Vodka, Bourbon, Rum or Brandy
1. Wash beans in warm water and pat dry with paper towel
2. Use a knife to split the bean in half
3. Add vanilla beans to jar and carefully pour in alcohol (or use small funnel)
4. Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so.
After about 8 weeks most of the vanilla flavor has been extracted from the beans, so you can remove them. You're welcome to leave the beans in the bottle, but keep them submerged so they don't start to mold.
Share the love: pour into smaller bottles and share a lovely hostess gift, birthday present for the person who has everything, or dandy little stocking stuffers (at the right time of the year).