I have been playing with the idea of broadening my cullinary horizons.. Well just a little bit.. So I’m making homemade vanilla to use in my holiday baking and what not. It seems that there are plenty of tutorials about this on the internet and in blogs, and each one has a different recipe and way of doing it. The most complete one I found was here. The amount of beans and the type of alcohol you can use vary vastly between recipes. Vanilla can be made with vodka, rum or bourbon. I’m starting with vodka. Being unable to make a decision about which recipe to follow, I decided to just wing it.
The vanilla beans came from Vanilla Saffron Imports, which is based in San Francisco. The package arrived in just two days. I had never really seen vanilla beans up close before, and I was surprised that they were kind of leathery and um, well..ugly.
Aesthetics aside, they smelled great. I boiled a spaghetti sauce jar and the lid for 30 minutes to get any smell out, ’cause we don’t want spaghetti sauce infused vanilla. The bean to alcohol ratio that seems to be the most common is 6 beans to 1 cup alcohol to make the vanilla nice and strong. I used about 3 cups of vodka. So I cut up 20 beans (two extra for good measure). I cut the first few lengthwise, but then decided that I’m going to end up cutting myself if I’m not careful, so I cut the rest into thirds. I threw them into my jar and filled the jar with vodka. The jar is a 24 oz jar and I used a 750 ml bottle of vodka. There is about a cup of vodka left at the end. Then I put the lid on tight and shook it up and placed it in a dark, cool cabinet.
When I went to check it out this morning it looked like this:
Hurray! My concoction is working!! It even is beginning to smell like vanilla infused vodka. I didn’t taste it, I mean it was only 7 am.
It’s going to take a couple of months to be ready, and the longer the beans sit in there the stronger it gets. The vanilla needs to be shaken every couple of days..
When it’s all done, I’ll put it in pretty jars and dress it up and give some away for the holidays.
Next time I’m just going to put the beans in the alcohol container. No more messing with boiling the jar and stuff.
I have enough beans left to make some vanilla with bourbon and some vanilla sugar. Now, just what to do with the leftover vodka?? Insert evil laugh here.