So easy, so cheap, why not make your own vanilla extract
- 4 to 6 Vanilla beans, sliced open leaving the top and bottom joined together
- brandy or brandy and vodka mix
- empty clean bottle or jar (the Grolsch beer bottles with swing tops are great)
Put the beans into the clean bottle, cover with alcohol and place in a dark spot, not too far away because it needs to be shaken every day for a month.
Smell regularly, it takes about a month to get the flavour into the alcohol but the smell strengthens quite quickly and well before the taste is obvious.
At any time add more vanilla pods – scraped pods from making cakes and ice cream can be added to the bottle after rinsing them. Used pods will never go to waste again.
When the mix is dark and aromatic and tastes like vanilla decant off a small amount for usage and add more pods and alcohol to ensure they stay covered. This mother batch can continue indefinitely as long as it is given about a month between adding more alcohol and decanting off some reserve. As there are more and more beans added remove any that have gone squidgy.