My homemade vanilla extract turns three!
I’ve started with just three vanilla beans and have been feeding it with leftover beans ever since. It has turned into a monster.
The smell is so intense, I’m sure I can make a fortune by selling tickets for people to take a whiff.
I know just the recipe to celebrate this glorious accomplishment. Sadly, I have to bake and not tell as the recipe is from my upcoming cookbook, but please hold on a few more days and I’ll be back with an amazing apple cake recipe. And a couple more recipes after that, using my favorite winter fruit.
Making your own vanilla extract can’t be easier.
Split the vanilla beans lengthwise in half, place in a bottle, pour vodka over and wait for a few months.
But I didn’t stop there.
I’m going through lots of vanilla beans for recipe testing, so I had to come up with ways to make use of leftover beans.
If I’m using just the seeds for a recipe, the leftover beans go directly into my homemade vanilla extract. I feed it with 1/4 cup of vodka for every ten leftover vanilla beans I add into the bottle.
If I’m steeping the vanilla bean in milk, cream, etc., I wash it thoroughly, leave at room temperature to dry out and stick it in a jar of sugar. I call it “Poor Man’s Vanilla Sugar”.
It will not be as strong as a vanilla sugar made with seeds, but will be aromatic enough to use in drinks, coffee or tea.
HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT RECIPE
Yield: 1 cup
- 3 vanilla beans
- 1 cup vodka
- Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans lengthwise in half and place in a glass bottle.
- Pour vodka into the bottle to completely cover the beans, put on the cap tightly and store in a cool, dark spot for at least a month (preferably two) before using, shaking the bottle once a week to help the extraction process.
- To strengthen the vanilla flavor, feed it with leftover beans only if they haven’t been steeped in milk, cream, etc. You may add 1/4 cup of vodka for every ten leftover vanilla bean you add into the bottle.
One of my favourite fragrances in the world!
Nevra @ ChurnYourOwn
I love it! I make my own too, but I never thought about adding leftover pods to the jar. Brilliant! Plus, I like the idea of expanding to a larger and more picturesque bottle. Your photos are amazing. I want to frame it and hang it on my wall.
Also, I use brandy instead of vodka. I assume vodka gives a more pure taste. Just curious if you’ve ever tried brandy and if so, why you prefer vodka.
Nevra – I prefer vodka as it is more neutral. I haven’t tried brandy, but did an experiment with cognac to see if it will make a difference. I’ve used those in a cake (after 2 weeks), but couldn’t really taste the cognac.
I’ve been making my own vanilla extract for many years and use over-proof rum with my vanilla pods. It’s absolutely divine! I’ve also made vanilla vodka by steeping vanilla pods in a bottle of vodka, but am not so keen on that. Oh yes, and I always pop my used, washed and dried vanilla pods into the container of caster sugar to make vanilla sugar. 🙂
Gorgeous photos! You should consider selling prints.
I’ve had great success starting with white rum and with light brandy instead of vodka. If using vodka, I would start off with potato vodka, rather than grain spirit. I think that potato vodka is just a TOUCH sweeter.
I start in September, and make them as gifts for the holidays using 200 ml bottles- I just open the bottles and toss in the vanilla beans, prepared as you described.
A friend who is a professional chef suggested a bit of glycerine, but I don’t see the need or the point.
Going to start a bottle of this today! 😀 So excited!
Wow, I know how intense the vanilla scent is so I think I can smell it only by looking at your picture!
Been meaning to try this but always assumed that i would need a whole bunch of vanilla beans. Three beans i have. So am off to make me own.
Oh by the way Cenk when does your book get released? I am waiting patiently. Have tried every single cake recipe from your blog and they all turned out really well so now i need more….
Great photos as always.
A Happy New year by the way…
esha – Thanks! Sometime in the next few months, but it will be released in Turkish only.
Where do you find vanilla beans in Istanbul?
Sara – You can find them in supermarkets, but it’s impossible to find a high-quality vanilla bean. I buy them during my travels.
Mama B @ My Edible Journey
I am another who uses brandy to make my extract. I love the depth of flavour it gives. I’ve tried adding beans to sugar, but after a while I end up with a solid lump of sugar, due to the moisture in the vanilla beans. Disappointing.
I have been meaning to make my own for ages but never knew that one could keep adding the leftover pods. That’s awesome.
What a fantastic idea- I use a lot of vanilla extract in the kitchen and love the idea of making it myself. Thanks for sharing!
will your book be available overseas? like Thailand or the US. If not, will it be possible to download it to my IPAD?
I will find a turkish person to translate for me. No worries 🙂
Oh i made the vanilla and waiting patiently to use it.
esha- Thanks a lot for your interest. The book will be published in Turkey only, but we’re also planning to sell it on Amazon. Will definitely provide further information once it’s out.
What a wonderful blog! I started my own batch of vanilla extract back in December after reading your post, and have replenished with scraped vanilla beans as I use them. My extract however is getting a cloudy and less and less transparent. Have you come across this before? Is this normal? Is it ok to still use it?
Thanks in advance!
Shane – Homemade vanilla extract is never crystal clear, but it is important to know what exactly causes cloudiness. You’re only using leftover beans that were NOT soaked in milk, etc. right?
Yes, that is correct. The beans were either cut in half and thrown into the vodka with the seeds or they were scraped. I haven’t used any beans that have been steeped in liquid.
Any insight would be appreciated!
Shane – Then I think you’re OK. Too many vanilla pods can make it a bit cloudy, but since we’re using it in batters, etc., that shouldn’t make a difference in the final appearance of the baked good.
How much time do you allow after you continue to feed the vanilla with extra beans and vodka for added flavor. So if you have waited your 2 months before use and then decide to feed, what is the wait time before you can continue to use? THANK YOU!!!! =)
Deanna Olson – No need to wait too long (or at all) as you’re adding the alcohol after you’ve added the extra beans, which means the extract has already become more potent than what it started as. The extra alcohol doesn’t dilute but rather balance the extract.
Thank you for your quick response, Cenk!! I purchased your Artful Baker and have done Brownies My Way and getting my ingredients together for the Matcha Cake. Am so appreciative of your wisdom and humor! Take care always…
Thank you! Happy baking!
Do you have any recommendations for purchasing vanilla beans online? I saw that you wrote that you purchase yours in your travels, but I don’t see myself heading out of the country anytime soon. I’d love any direction in this area, as many purveyors on amazon have mixed reviews.
I always buy from here.