Dispensing Happiness

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Friday, August 26, 2005

DIY Vanilla


A couple of months ago, after watching a Martha Stewart re-run, I decided to make my own vanilla.

As simple as sticking vanilla beans in vodka-filled jars (old spice bottles), and letting them sit in the back of the cupboard for a couple of months.

It was finally time to drag one of the two bottles out this week, and you can see how wonderful it looks!

12 Thoughts for food:

At 3:12 AM, Blogger Clare Eats said...

but how does it taste ? :)

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

I'm curious too - how does it compare to store-bought? I'm also curious about the relative cost - how much does it make and how much did it cost? I'm well-stocked with vanilla for quite a while (I bought a 32-oz bottle from King Arthur a while back).

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Cate said...

Vanilla extract has vodka in it? What else?

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Jen(nifer) said...

This is so freaking cool! How does it taste? :)

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi everyone!

First, as to it's taste, I used it in a chocolate and peanut butter muffin recipe, so the flavor was kind of overwhelmed. I'm going to have to try making sugar cookies or something like it to test the real flavor.

Cost: We bought about twelve ounces of vodka for about $11, and two vanilla beans for around...um...I don't remember, from which we made two bottles of vanilla. All things considered, the cost is probably comparable or perhaps a bit cheaper.

And what else is in it: Vanilla extract is simply an alcohol solution in which vanilla beans have
soaked for a while. Those are all the ingredients you need, really. Vodka is the most flavorless alcohol solution generally available, so that's what we used, but presumably some high-proof grain alcohol would do as well. Matt's wondering what you'd get from soaking, say, rose or violet petals in alcohol...

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Laura said...

funny on this post, had just purchased some obscenely expensive vanilla from Williams and Sonoma and was lamenting the too strong bourbon taste -- sure it good -- but my palate picks up the bourbon first.

will have to try the vodka

I think that flower petals might be a bit too delicate for any kind of alcohol -- but possible -- my suggestion would be to try lavender first since it's quite sturdy, you could even use dried.

I prefer to make flower/herb esscence simple syrups and add them.

At 1:20 AM, Blogger Clare Eats said...

If you use rose petals you need to have the right ones, the bad ones taste like nothing where as the good ones are really yummy!

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Niki said...

An excellent idea. I remember when Zarah Maria posted about making her own, but she did it in a full size vodka bottle. Yikes! How is the consistency of yours? Is it significantly thinner than store-bought stuff? If so, would it affect the liquid content of things like biscuits (something I've wondered about for a while)
Incidentally, I saw an ad for the new Queen's vanilla paste you mentioned, in a magazine recently! I'll have to look out for it.

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Pille said...

That sounds so cool! I have a bottle of vodka in my cupboard that I can't bring myself to drink. Now I can turn it from being simply a bottle of booze into a culinary masterpiece:)

At 1:14 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Pille, give it a shot!

(oh, ha ha; I just got that...)

If you want to use the entire bottle, I recommend following these guidelines.

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I want to have non-alcoholic vanilla... After the vanilla flavor is adsorbed by the vodka, can I just leave the top off the bottle until the alcohol evaporates????

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Richard, I'm afraid that really wouldn't work. You'd be left with nothing but dried-out beans...sorry. The only way to do it would be to use industrial-strength materials, and that's just not feasible for the home cook.


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