I probably should have shared this recipe two months ago, but I've got terrible timing. And as a result I've screwed you out of giving your granny a perfectly good, homemade gift this holiday season. Well, kind of. Because, between you and me, you could totally buy one of those cheap bottles of vanilla extract, transfer it to a glass amber bottle, put a bow on it and tell granny you made it yourself. Chances are she won't know the difference, anyway. But that would be a really terrible thing to do the woman who used to wipe your father's ass.
The best part about making vanilla extract is the fact that all you have to do is let the vanilla beans and alcohol mingle in a dark place for a few months and voila! vanilla extract. Let it mingle for 9-12 months and you won't be sorry. I used organic vodka and madagascar vanilla beans, but it'd be much cheaper to use that lower grade vodka you used to get drunk on in high school. And any variety of vanilla beans will do, but I prefer madagascar.
3 vanilla beans
1 cup 80 proof vodka
Using a paring knife, split the vanilla beans lengthwise, leaving 1/4" uncut at the end. Place the vanilla beans in a glass jar and cover with alcohol. Seal jar tightly then store in a dark, cool area of your house (such as a closet) and shake every 2-3 weeks, for at least three months. The longer you wait, the richer your vanilla extract will be. When you're ready to bottle your extract, get yourself some four ounce amber bottles and share it with the people you love most.
Yield: 1 cup