I have had the luxury of baking with Mexican vanilla in the past, and it forever ruined me for anything that can be purchased in the States. So when I saw the homemade vanilla extract on My Baking Addiction, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Finding myself at the Beanilla website I ordered 25 Mexican vanilla beans, a half gallon bottle for extracting, and a slew of 4 oz bottles for dispersal. Dispersal for what? Christmas presents!
The Beanilla package came expertly wrapped. I was so relieved to see the package on my doorstep as opposed to the salmon colored slip indicating that the parcel could be picked up at the post office (which is so very much not fun). The aroma that wafted out of the Mexican vanilla beans upon opening the vacuum sealed package was intoxicating – a scent which lingered on my hands after handling them as well. After splitting 15 vanilla beans down the middle lengthwise, leaving 1/2 inch at the end intact, I let them swim with 40 oz of vodka in the half gallon bottle. Although tempted to stare at it as though watching grass grow I stashed it away in a cool, dry place for the next 3 weeks, and only took it out to shake around about once a week.
Typically you are supposed to let it sit for 6-8 weeks. Unfortunately this project was not known to me until the first week in December. Thankfully I found advice to include a vanilla bean in each bottle when divided up into their respective 4 oz bottles. I advised the giftees to refrain from using it for another couple weeks. As an added bonus with the bean in the bottle, when the vanilla stock dwindles a little more vodka will replenish the supply! Of course this will occur again after waiting at least a few weeks. Patience is a virtue, but it is a gift that keeps on giving!
I also used labels which can also be found on My Baking Addiction, and copied the decoration with similar twine and snowflakes. It made for a great touch!
Sterilized Jar or Bottle with a tight, secure lid
Vanilla Beans in your favorite variety (rule of thumb is st least 1 bean per 1/3 cup of alcohol)
Vodka (I used Three Olives, but you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy)
- Use a knife to split the bean in half, leave about 1/2 inch at each end intact.
- Put your vanilla beans in your glass bottle or jar and cover with vodka.
- Close jar or bottle and store in a cool, dry place for at least 6-8 weeks. Give the bottle a shake every week or so.
- As you use the vanilla, simply add in more liquor to replace what you have used.
Source: My Baking Addiction