When baking a decadent dessert, plain ole imitation vanilla extract simply just won’t do. Though when you want a good quality extract they can get pretty pricey. For an 8oz bottle of real Madagascar Vanilla extract you are looking at paying anywhere from $15 to $40. If you are a baker like me, 8 ounces of vanilla can go quickly.
So why pay an outrageous amount when you can make this at home?!
I have been making my own vanilla extract for years now. I can confidently say I will never go back to store bought extract. A big plus is it’s incredibly easy to make too.
So what is Vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract made by transferring the flavors and aromas from the Vanilla Beans to the alcohol of choice. Vodka, brandy or rum are traditionally used. I use vodka since the flavor tends to be more neutral. If you are looking for more depth, I would go for a good brandy or rum.
What kind of Vanilla bean should I choose?
There are a few things to look for when purchasing the right vanilla pods.
- Grade: Grade A or B are what I look for. Grade A beans are the most moist and oily, while grade B beans contain a smaller amount of moisture. Both are good but grade B works best when making an extract.
- Location: Vanilla beans come from different parts of the world. Different growing conditions result in different flavors of the pod.
- Madagascar produces vanilla beans that have the most traditional flavor. They tend to be on the smooth and creamy side (Mmmm can you just smell it now?).
- Tahitian beans are fruity with a floral essence. Vanilla beans from Mexico have the most depth, as well as a spice essence; you can taste the hints of clove and nutmeg (Beautiful beans!). Indonesian beans are woody, smokey and earthy.
When choosing beans think first of the flavors you want to achieve in an extract. My personal go to are beans from Madagascar.
*To make an even stronger vanilla flavor repeat the process with the cured extract. Meaning adding more beans with the seeds scraped out. Make sure to boil that knife!
The Vanilla extract makes a great gift for the holiday’s or even a base for your own perfume blend!