Monday, February 25, 2013

Homemade vanilla extract & vanilla sugar

Good morning and happy Monday!  Another week has begun.  I am pretty tired this morning because I stayed up waaay too late last night watching the Oscars.  Did you all watch?  I was so excited to see Ann Hathaway win for Les Mis.  She gave an amazing performance in that movie.  The musical number on stage last night gave me chills. Also, doesn't Daniel Day Lewis seem like the nicest guy in the world?! I haven't seen Lincoln yet, but I really need to.  Ben Affleck's speech brought tears to my eyes.  (I'm a real sucker for award shows and acceptance speeches) Anyway, I can't wait to see what my fashion blogger friends have to say about the red carpet. I really loved Sandra Bullock's dress.  I'm wondering who else will agree with me....

But I digress - Today I'm going to share with you how to make vanilla extract and vanilla sugar.  Two of the most essential ingredients in baking, but also the easiest to make at home.  My mother has been making vanilla extract at home for years and years.  In my opinion it's much better than the store bought variety.  It's pure and has much more flavor. I can't say enough about it.  I use vanilla extract in just about everything - from pancake batter, to granola, to cupcakes.  It's my go to "not-so-secret" ingredient.  In case you don't know, here's how to make it.

The general rule is 3 vanilla beans to 1 cup of vodka (6 beans to 2 cups of vodka, etc).

Cut one end off the beans and split lengthwise to expose the seeds. 

Drop in a jar or bottle filled with your vodka. Mason jars work perfect for this. (*side note: you don't have to use really expensive vodka*)

Seal tightly and leave for 2 - 3 months. Over time you will see the color of the vodka will have changed.

With a funnel fill your prettiest bottles and jars. 

Homemade vanilla extract is not only easy but it makes a wonderful gift!  These bottles were actually from my bridal shower.  My mom made the vanilla and it was given away (with a pretty ribbon attached) as favors.  Great idea, right?!

For vanilla sugar you will need 1 vanilla bean and 2 cups of sugar.

Split bean open and scrape out the seeds.

Put seeds in a mixing bowl with the sugar.  Mix and mash them in as much as you can until you see  little bits of vanilla evenly distributed throughout.  Add the empty pods and bury them in the sugar as well.

Seal tightly into an airtight container.  Let sit 1-2 weeks.

Use in coffee, on toast, and when baking all your sweets.  Vanilla sugar is lovely : ) 

Smells nice too! Ahhh....

Have a wonderful day! xo

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