It’s the most gift giving time of the year, and one of the most special gifts I can give is something I have prepared right in my own kitchen. It could be cookies or fudge, bread or cake, dinner or breakfast. I could wrap it and deliver to your door step, or I could have you in my kitchen. The reason giving from my kitchen is so special is simple; the whole time I am in my kitchen I am thinking about the person or people I am preparing a treat of some kind for.
We can all admit it’s so incredibly easy to get caught up in all our lists. Christmas cards and gift giving, shopping, maybe travel, parties, teacher gifts and more. But when I step into my kitchen, I turn up the carols, light a candle and just spend time focusing on the families I hope my talents will touch.
The first order of business is getting myself organized. I try to plan out what I am going to prepare, and what ingredients I have versus what I need. My FB followers saw this snap shot on Monday.
All that planning and organizing and shopping, and I came home to no vanilla extract. Well, that’s not entirely true. I came home to no home made vanilla extract. Earth shattering, nope. Disappointing, a little bit. I pulled my empty vanilla bottle out of the pantry, and remembered I had several empty bottles. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone so to speak.
I gathered up all my supplies. (not shown is the Meyer’s Dark Rum.) I tend to work better with everything out in front of me. It can be hell for counter space, but makes the process better for me.
I am about to share the easiest homemade gift you will ever see. As you can see, you will need vodka, or bourbon, or dark rum, or just one kind if you like, vanilla beans, and air tight bottles. I prefer these swing tops because they don’t leak, and can be washed and reused.
To start, split the pods in half, but not cutting all the way thru. You are just exposing the beans. This is pretty terrible picture of me having just done that. You need one pod for every 8 ounces of liquor. The swing tops I used are 8 ounces, so 1 per bottle in this case.
Add the pods to the bottles.
Pictured above is handful of unused pods. To store these for later, put in an airtight container and store in the fridge. You can also split some, just like above, pour sugar over them and make vanilla sugar, which also needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. With all that said we may be the only house that buys vanilla in bulk. And by house, I mean restaurant where I snagged these. ? (Pods are readily available in most grocery stores, specialty stores, and online.)
Once the pods are in the bottles, just pour your choice of liquor over them.
Close the lids, and you are pretty much finished. Some items to note, these need to sit, preferably laying on their sides for thirty days. I just made these a few days ago, so you can see the vodka is still clear. In thirty days it will turn to an amber color. You can use these in any recipe that calls for vanilla, and maybe you are like me and put vanilla in things that don’t even call for vanilla.
I hand printed on the back the date the vanilla can be used. And a quick note, it’s good for a year.
Ready to go under the Christmas Tree. Or to a friend’s. Or in cookies, fudge, and pancakes.
Merry Baking and Happy Sweet Tooth
8 ounces of vodka, bourbon or dark rum
vanilla pods, split, but not cut thru
glass swing top bottle
Place one pod, split, into a bottle, pour your choice of liquor over it.
Store the bottle on it’s side for 30 days.