Homemade Vanilla Anyone???

Decorating By mcdonald Updated 6 Jun 2008 , 4:16pm by HerBoudoir

mcdonald Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:02pm
post #1 of 22

I have seen a few topics about making vanilla at home. I am seriously thinking about doing it. I am so tired of buying ho hum vanilla. I love a good vanilla and I have a hard time finding it and then it is usually in small bottles and costs me a fortune.. I figure if I start now I should have it ready for Christmas...

I have found recipes using bourbon or vodka. anyone have any input on this topic?? Anyone out there make there own that could share recipes or tips?

21 replies
playingwithsugar Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:11pm
post #2 of 22

I always make my own vanilla now. I had bought two large bottles (we're talking 12 oz bottles) of vanilla at a club store a few years ago, and was totally disappointed. Not only was it pale (you should not be able to see through that much vanilla), it had no flavor. I had to add vanilla beans to the bottles and let it sit for a few months, and go out and buy more in the meantime.

Here's a good recipe from The Barefoot Contessa - it will make the 750 ml bottle of vanilla.


There are also a couple of threads in the archives on this already, in case you want to go back and check them out.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

patrice2007 Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:17pm
post #3 of 22

I did it a few years ago. It was great...I used vodka. Just fill a fancy jar with your vodka add a vanilla bean, cap it and put it away for months. Good luck

bambuf Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:17pm
post #4 of 22

I've made my own lots of times. I have never used 12 beans, though. I usually use two beans per bottle of rum...split the beans before adding to rum. Let it sit for a month to marinate...then you are ready to go. I also use spent vanilla beans to make vanilla sugar...just stash them into an airtight container of vanilla. If you want a richer flavor faster, you can split new beans and add to the sugar. I love to use vanilla sugar in my cookie recipes.

lutie Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:27pm
post #5 of 22

Yes, I make my own vanilla, using bourbon (KY bourbon, of course icon_biggrin.gif ). I do like my vanilla strong, so I use many vanilla beans in a huge bottle of bourbon and leave it for six months. Just open up the bottle and shove as many as you want in the bottle... I get my beans on A*M*A*Z*O*N and have been so pleased. As you use the vanilla , replace the bourbon with more (some people use vodka) bourbon and another bean. It is amazing how much money you save and the quality of your vanilla! Sometimes I just like to go and open up the bottle and "sniff"... good smell! icon_lol.gif One for the batter and one for the "better" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:31pm
post #6 of 22

lutie -

KY bourbon, huh?

Are we talking Maker's Mark?

That's my favorite brand!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

mcdonald Posted 5 Jun 2008 , 8:46pm
post #7 of 22

I love the smell of a good vanilla and I bet this is WONDERFUL!!! I am going to make some this week end. I am sick of spending good money and getting weak crap!!!! Sorry to say that but I think vanilla is very important in a recipe and I think the homemade sounds the way to go.. I just have to be patient!!!!!

lutie Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 1:25am
post #8 of 22

At our local grocery stores, I can buy 2 oz of vanilla for $4.99... imagine how much I am saving when I am spending $36.00 for 1.75 liters of bourbon (which is almost 60 ounces) plus $25.50 for the beans and s/h which comes to a total of $61.50. ... so, 30 times $4.99 equals $149.70 minus the $61.50 I paid for the vanilla beans equals a savings of $88.20. I will take that savings any day!!!!

....plus, you can use your vanilla within 6 weeks after you start it. I prefer to wait and now I just keep myself 6 months ahead. By the way, it makes really great gifts!

saap1204 Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 1:57am
post #9 of 22

I started my vanilla approximately six weeks ago. I used a glass jar and put in some whole vanilla beans, some cut vanilla beans and then split and scraped the seeds out of some of the beans and then put the cut/splt beans in. I am another one that just loves to open the jar and take a deep breath. I can't wait to use it! I will finish up the vanilla my husband brought back from Mexico, which has a very nice taste, and then I will use mine--can't wait! I will also be buying some decorative glass bottles to give some as gifts. Order the beans online--they are so much cheaper!

Ladivacrj Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 12:57pm
post #10 of 22

I am obsessed with it. I started making my vanilla about 1 1/2 ago and I will never go back. I have used absolute and rum, love them both.

It pains me to have to use the clear stuff in my icing.

plbennett_8 Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:03pm
post #11 of 22

I'm curious... Do you use the clear vodka or rum to make Clear Vanilla?

This is very interesting...

majormichel Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:22pm
post #12 of 22

I just google vanilla extract recipe and was surprise at all the similarities in recipes. Its very easy to do, I never thought about this before. Now, I am a believer.

Ladivacrj Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:27pm
post #13 of 22

Unfortunatley, unless I am doing something wrong, clear vanilla is always artifical.

You can't make clear vanilla, the color comes from the vanilla bean.

daranaco Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:44pm
post #14 of 22

I just made some vanilla with a 750ml bottle of vodka and 4 vanilla beans. I split 2 beans and put them in the bottle for 1 month. After 1 month I added 2 more split beans and let it sit for another month (shaking them occassionally). I also ordered the beans from Amazon (JR Mushrooms). The price was great and the beans were fresh. The home made vanilla smells and tastes much better than my expensive store bought vanilla.

mcdonald Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:51pm
post #15 of 22

I am so excited now!!! I just went on to Amazon and ordered my beans. I ordered from the source some above had mentioned!! Very reasonable.. and free shipping if I ordered a little bit more than I wanted. I can't wait.

Does anyone know the differences in tastes from using bourbon or vodka or absolut?? I am just curious. I think I am going to use the bourbon but was wondering why some use vodka, etc.. and some use bourbon.

summernoelle Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 2:52pm
post #16 of 22

I have been dying to do this for a couple of years now, ever since I saw it on Barefoot Contessa. So I think I will try it, too!

southerncake Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:08pm
post #17 of 22

DH's cousin and aunt do this for everyone each year at Christmas and it makes the best gift ever!! They use really cute bottles and make their own adorable labels. It is one of the gifts I look forward to each year. I am thinking of trying it this year for my side of the family!

Edited to add -- They use vodka.

mcdonald Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:15pm
post #18 of 22

all of my sister bake so I think this will be Christmas gifts as well!! What a great gift... something they could really use and not so expensive that you have to take a loan out for.

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:26pm
post #19 of 22

Well, if you use bourbon, it's going to have a vanilla bourbon taste, which is not something everyone cares for (although I wouldn't complain).

Absolut is a top shelf vodka, and something I would not use. I see no sense in spending the extra money on something which will be turned into a cake or cookie ingredient. Make me a vodka martini with it instead, I'll be right there!

Smirnoff is fine.

If you read the label on your purchased vanilla bottle, you will see that it is approximately 35-40% alcohol, which means the vodka should be about 80 proof. I would not go more than 105 proof, as you need the water/alcohol ratio to be approximate to the ratio they use in manufacturing vanilla extract.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

mcdonald Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:31pm
post #20 of 22

Well ... I am off to the liquor store!!! One for me, one for vanilla!!! SOunds like a plan....

playingwithsugar Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:35pm
post #21 of 22

I'm on my way, martini glasses in hand! Now all I need is directions to Trenton! icon_lol.gif

Theresa icon_smile.gif

HerBoudoir Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 4:16pm
post #22 of 22

I started brewing my own vanilla not too long ago. I wouldn't use good vodka - I bought a 1.5 liter bottle of rotgut for about $12, poured into a jar that has a rubber seal lid and a wide mouth (to make pulling old beans out easier), and started it off with about 6 beans that I split. Every time I use a vanilla bean for something else, I add the scraped bean into the extract brew.

It already smells great, but I probably won't be using it for a while yet, until it gets stronger.

And yes - any clear vanilla is imitation.

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