The ingredients list of a recipe is a precious thing. Each item has its purpose whether it’s for leavening, binding, texture, or flavour. Vanilla extract can (and will) be found in almost every recipe to awaken the flavour of your baking even if vanilla is not the main event featured in your dessert. She is always there.
And how often do we “settle” for artificial vanilla extract? I’ve definitely arrived at the grocery story and stared at a self where a large bottle of artificial vanilla extract ($3.99 CA) towered over a tiny bottle of pure vanilla extract ($12.99 CA) and thought, “Good enough.”
While vanilla bean pods aren’t that cheap either (I believe Bulk Barn carries them at $7.99 CA for two pods), making your own for that amount will definitely leave your pantry with more than 43 mL of vanilla extract. And all you need in addition to vanilla pods to make that happen is vodka.
2-3 vanilla pods
1 cup vodka
Cut the ends off the pods then split them down length-wise and put into a bottle. I also cut the pods in half to fit them into my bottles so use your judgement. I’ve read in other recipes to scrape the beans out first and place into the bottle along with the pods. It’s really up to you since it’ll just be soaking in vodka.
Speaking of which…
Pour vodka into the bottle. Vodka is a great choice for alcohol because it is flavourless but don’t be afraid to experiment. Rum and bourbon are great options. I also have a bottle of toasted caramel-flavoured whiskey and in no way was that depressing.
Now, store that bottle in a dark, cool area (back of the cupboard/pantry is a good spot) and wait…
Seriously, leave it for a month.
It’ll be worth it!