It’s hard to believe the Holidays are just around the corner, and it’s already time to start brewing up another batch of vanilla extract for Christmas gifts. Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook first introduced me to homemade vanilla extract using simply vanilla beans and vodka several years ago, and I hadn’t actually tried it for myself until last year when I was researching homemade Christmas gifts and decided to seize the day. The process is simple and involves very few ingredients. The only trick is that you need to start a few months before Holiday festivities begin. There’s no procrastinating with this gift!
I followed the Vanilla Extract Tutorial from Alexandra’s Kitchen precisely last year, right down to the bottles and labels she suggests in her post. This year I am using different bottles (and will also be using different labels), but am still following her awesome, detailed recipe.
In a few months after the extract has had time to mature, I’ll top each off with a bit of Kahlua liqueur and adhere a label to each bottle before giving to family and friends. If you prefer, you can remove the beans and strain out the seeds, but I prefer to leave them in. The beans will keep indefinitely, and the extract can be topped off with more vodka as it’s depleted. Just make sure to store in a cool, dark, place.