Is it surprising that I think the best gifts to give and receive are those that are homemade? Real shocker coming from me, huh? Well, it's the truth, I adore little treasures like this homemade vanilla extract. Anyone would be thrilled to receive this, especially during the holiday season when baking is in full-throttle!
Glass bottles with caps, I used these
Middle-Shelf Vodka, like Svedka or Smirnoff (or rum/bourbon for a less traditional approach)
Grade B vanilla beans, like these
For every 8 ounces of vodka use 4-5 vanilla beans.
I purchased 12 bottles, so I used a total of 24 beans and about 3/4 of a handle of vodka (each bottle was 4 ounces, so I used 2 beans per bottle and tapped it off with the liquor).
Make sure the bottles are clean. I washed mine and then sterilized them in the oven for 10 minutes.
Using soap and water wash the caps, set aside.
Take the vanilla beans and cut them in half, then run your knife down the center to expose the little specks of vanilla inside.
Drop your vanilla pieces into the bottles (for me it was 2 full vanilla beans, so 4 halves, into each bottle).
Using a funnel carefully fill the bottles up with liquor. Tightly screw the cap on and give it a good shake.
Store in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks, make sure to give each bottle a good shake every couple days. The color will darken as time goes on. Also, I like to leave the vanilla beans in the bottles, I think it adds to the rustic/homemade charm.
You can fasten a cute little card with a favorite recipe that calls for vanilla extract on to the bottle, or just add some twine and send it on it's way!
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