I am a huge fan of vanilla extract and although when I started baking I used some supermarket, common vanilla extract, I now make my own at home and nothing comes close to it in terms of flavor. When making vanilla extract at home, bear in mind that different vanilla bean varities will yield different results and the better the bean, the better the extract.
Bourbon or Madagascar are the most common and easy to find vanilla beans, but you will also find Tahitian beans which are more floral and Mexican beans which tend to be spicier. You can use just one type in your extract or combine them for a truly special and unique vanilla extract.
As for the alcohol used, vodka or pure alcohol should be your first choice because they have no definite taste and won’t influence the taste or the final extract at all. However, brandy or rum can be used to create unique, flavorful extract if you prefer.
It’s not even an actual recipe as it’s so easy to make. You will need a small bottle, but high enough to fit your vanilla beans, enough alcohol to fill the bottle and at east 5 vanilla beans. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and place them in the bottle. Pour in the alcohol and cover the bottle with its lid. Let it infuse at least 3 months for a proper, intense flavor, but the extract will last you for months once fully infused.
- 5-10 vanilla beans, split lengtwise
- 10 oz. alcohol (or as needed)
- 1 glass bottle
- Place the beans and alcohol in a glass bottle.
- Seal the bottle and let the extract infuse for a minimum of 3 months before use.
Once I have a bottle of extract I like to keep adding beans into it and fill it with alcohol from time to time. This way I know that I have my own, homemade extract whenever I need it. Even used vanilla beans (seedless) can be used – they still preserve some flavor, even after removing the seeds so don’t throw them away!
What I love about this process is that it can be applied to other extracts as well. Orange, lemon and lavender are just a few that I’ve tried with great success in the past. So find a spice you like and keep in mind that you can encapsulate its flavor into a bottle of alcohol! Get creative and have fun with it!
Desi la inceput foloseam esenta de vanilie din comert, m-am obisnuit sa-mi fac propriile arome si extracte, iar cel de vanilie e unul din preferate. Diferenta intre cel facut acasa si esentele cumparate e de la cer la pamant si mi-a luat ceva timp sa ma obisnuiesc cu aroma de vanilie adevarata, insa acum nu concep o reteta fara aroma aceea subtila de vanilie si putin alcool.
Extractul se face foarte simplu folosind cateva pastai de vanilie de buna calitate si alcool pur sau vodka, desi puteti folosi si rom sau brandy cu mentiunea ca folosind un alcool aromat, extractul final va avea un gust diferit.
Taiati pastaile de vanilie in jumatate pe lungime si puneti-le intr-o sticluta mica. Umpleti sticluta cu alcool si lasati extractul sa se macereze cel putin 3 luni inainte de a-l folosi. Eu obisnuiesc sa tot adaug pastai si alcool pe masura ce consum din prima tura de extract.
Pe acelasi principiu puteti face si alte extracte, precum portocala, lamaie sau levantica.