Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I can't believe Christmas is almost here... this year just flew by!  I remember when I saw homemade vanilla extract on The Italian Dish this time last year and thought- now that's something I just HAVE to try!  What a unique and useful holiday gift to give!

Extract is something I use constantly and am always running out of.  Keeping a homemade bottle in your kitchen is convenient because once you run out, you can fill up your bottle with unflavored vodka and the beans will continue to steep into extract.  How easy and great is that!

Making homemade extract is extremely easy and fun to make.  It's a perfect activity if you're hosting a girls night or want to find something fun to do with your mom and sisters around the holiday.  All you need are a few supplies and an hour of your time!

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did!  Merry Christmas!


Recipe Tips
  • However many you're planning on giving out, double it!  Everyone will love them and you'll wish you had more!
  • If you don't have 6-8 weeks to allow the extract to steep, assemble your extract and make sure to note on your label "use after_____" with the date.
  • When you run out of extract, fill your bottle with unflavored vodka, let it steep for another 6-8 weeks and your beans will continue to give you delicious extract to use!  
  • Checking in after 1/31/11 to share my results- LOVE this recipe!! The vanilla works great- have been baking with it for weeks making vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting just to name a couple of things and the flavoring is great.  Two things I will do differently next time- I'll put 2-3 vanilla beans in each container (4-6 split) and will look for another label that will not smudge or consider buying a large clear sticker to seal the printed label.

Begin with ordering your supplies... you can buy these wonderful little 4 oz. glass bottles from the Specialty Bottle Company  at a very reasonable price:


Then you'll need your vanilla beans.  I bought these through Beanilla who recommended the Bourbon Vanilla flavor.  When ordering your vanilla, keep in mind you'll need one or one and a half beans per bottle.


When your bottles and vanilla arrive, you'll also need unflavored vodka and a funnel:



To begin your extract,  pour your vodka, just under 2/3 cup of vodka per bottle, through the funnel into your bottle:


until it reaches the top:


Then cut your vanilla beans in half:


Then cut each half length wise:


to expose the seeds:

Drop all 4 pieces into your container filled with vodka:


Top your container with the cap and allow to steep for 6-8 weeks:


 Next, it's time to prepare your labels.  I ordered these Epson Photo Quality Self Adhesive Sheets.  I made my own labels through Microsoft Office Publisher using a custom layout measuring 1.5" width x 2.75" length labels, which printed 10 labels per sheet.  Next time I might try adjusting the label size to 2.5" in length because I found if I didn't position the label perfectly on the bottle, the top or bottom of the label crinkled over the rounded edge of the bottle.  I would also look into a glossy finish instead of matte finish for the paper, but if you're afraid of testing a different paper out, the matte finish was still a really great option to use.  Once your labels are printed, cut them up:

 
 If you want to make a label for the back of the bottle, print and cut those up as well:

 

Then remove the backing of your paper and carefully place it on the flat surface of your bottle:


Do the same with your second label, making sure to level it with the front label:


Then finish it off with decorative ribbon tied into a pretty bow... here's your finished product!:
 

 And your label on the back describing the steeping process and an interesting tip that once you run out of extract, all you have to do is fill it with more unflavored vodka and you can continue to enjoy homemade extract!


A perfect gift for the holidays!


That your friends and family will be sure to love!





Homemade Vanilla Extract
Makes: 40 bottles
Prep Time: 5 minutes per bottle
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients/Supplies:
40, 4 oz. glass bottles with cap from the Glass Bottle Company
40 Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla
3 handles of unflavored vodka
funnel
1 package of labels, 10 sheets (Espon Photo Quality Self Adhesive Sheets)
decorative ribbon


Directions:
To begin your extract,  pour your vodka through the funnel into your bottle until it reaches the top.  Take one vanilla bean and cut it in half.  Then cut it a second time length wise so the seeds are exposed.  Drop all 4 pieces of your vanilla bean into the container filled with vodka.  Put your cap on the bottle and repeat these steps until all of you've done all of your bottles.  Set your bottles aside and allow to steep for 6-8 weeks.

In the mean time, prepare your labels.  I made my own labels through Microsoft Office Publisher using a custom layout measuring 1.5" width x 2.75" length labels.  Next time I might try adjusting the label size to 2.5" in length because if I didn't position the label perfectly on the bottle, the top or bottom of the label crinkled over the rounded edge of the bottle.  I would also look into a glossy finish instead of matte finish for the paper, but if you're afraid of testing a different paper out, the matte finish was still a really great option to use.  Once your labels are printed, cut them up and carefully place them on the flat surface of each bottle.  Finish with tying a decorative ribbon into a pretty bow.
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57 comments:

  1. SO adorable.. Chels your just too good.. really I love this idea!!!!

    -Col

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  2. Awesome idea! Now, if only I weren't such a procrastinator when it comes to planning out holiday gifts! :-p I was so bad this year -- just shipped gifts to CA this past Saturday.

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  3. What incredible execution of a great gift idea! My homemade blueberry gin didn't get such nice packaging...but then again, I had to test it first...gift wrapping while tipsy is never a good idea! Merry Christmas. Theresa

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  4. Wow. These are beautiful!! Lucky friends. =) Brilliant idea.

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  5. Love this idea, I'll be bookmarking this post :)

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  6. Great idea! This would be the perfect gift for a foodie.

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  7. You had me at unflavored vodka and funnel.

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  8. I am obsessed with this idea! I love everything about it.. I had no idea making your own extract was so easy! I want those little bottles and great job on your labels! So when can I expect one of these homemade goodies in the mail?? :)

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  9. Chelsea I love this idea!!! I am definitely doing this next year. Thanks for sharing!!

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  10. I love this idea! I will definitely put this on the list for next year's gifts. This year I am doing chocolate bark with cranberries, apricots and smoked almonds. Happy holidays!

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  11. Those photos... wow... just blew my mind. So clear and colorful and just overall beautiful. Great job on the photography and the recipe itself. Always impressed with your work though.

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  12. omg, too cute. i'm bookmarking this for next year. thanks for the links to the supplies. love your labels. they're so modern looking.

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  13. I love those labels - wish I had gotten around to doing this. Such a wonderful (flavorful!) idea.

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  14. CHELSEA! this looks amazing!!! all the photos are beautiful....the last one has some great xmas tree bokeh! great gift idea too :) cant wait to use it..Love you!!

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  15. What a fun and fantastic gift idea - yours looks so professional.
    Thank you for sharing such a magnificent idea.
    :-) Mandy

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  16. This is so great. You are so amazing. Love the labels. You could sell these vanilla extracts -- they are so beautiful!

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  17. What a fantastic, personal gift to make. This is something I'd probably have to start in October...I luv, luv this idea. Thank you for sharing this and the links for the vanilla beans and bottles.

    I'm going to add this to my calendar as a reminder before I forget! ;)

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  18. This is SUCH a great idea!!!! Everything looks so heavenly cute! I must make this sometime when I've got time! Thank you so much for sharing :-)

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  19. How adorable are those cute bottles of vanilla extract. It sounds like a fun process to make. I need to try it :)

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  20. I recently started making my own vanilla extract and I love it. So much better (and cheaper) than the store-bought stuff! I'm now branching out and making my own lemon, mint and almond extracts. Next up is anise :) It's an addiction.

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  21. This is a FABULOUS idea and I have already bookmarked it. I hope to goodness it comes out as pretty as yours! :)

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  22. Ah, for a gift. I'm making some for myself currently and I'll end up saving almost $90 from buying it in the grocery store when I'm all done -- if it turns out as promised.

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  23. Wow! I am beyond impressed! This is fabulous!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

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  24. what a wonderful idea! I want to do this next year for sure. When you refill the bottle with vodka, do you then have to wait 6-8 weeks again?

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  25. This is such a fantastic idea! I'm definitely bookmarking this, thanks:)

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  26. What a wonderful idea!! I will be trying the immediately. Your bottles look so cute too!

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  27. What perfect Christmas gifts! Can't wait to try this out myself!

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  28. I love it! what a great idea for an xmas gift! :)

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  29. This is the coolest idea! Thank you for sharing. :)

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  30. This is a really wonderful post, Chelsea. I can tell a lot of care and work went into all of this;-) And what a cool gift too. Nice!

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  31. I would be so happy to get one of these in my Christmas stocking and I know most of my friends would too. I will be make this in future intead of buying. Thanks for the recipe!

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  32. This looks wonderful! You always have the best ideas!! Thank you for sharing! Happy Holidays to you and your family!!

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  33. I LOVE IT!! I am definitely keeping this recipe around for next year! Your little bottles look so wonderful - wish I was getting one!
    Thanks for sharing. Happy holidays!

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  34. Love this!!!!! I'm definitely making at least a few bottles. Wow, I'm so excited, thanks! Merry Christmas!!

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  35. Incredibly easy! And looks very professional. I love making homemade gifts. This year our office exchanged gifts, but the requirement was that it must be handmade and not bought! Great gift idea! Thanks much!

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  36. That's really it?! How cool! I just gave my friends some vodka I infused with vanilla beans. Little did I know I was on my way to vanilla extract!

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  37. OMG! This is amazing! I didn't know that this is how vanilla extract was made! I thought it involved boiling water and using distillation techniques and all sorts of other craziness! This is a GREAT idea! I daresay the best food blog post I've seen for the holidays! THANKS for sharing!

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  38. This is so amazing! What a great idea! makes me want to run out to the store and get all the supplies right now. Unfortunately I will have to wait until next year to give as gifts. It will be on my to do list for sure! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  39. Chelsea, what a perfect gift! While I have all of my gifts done for this year, I think I just may make some of this for myself. Congrats on a well deserved Top 9!!

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  40. Like so many others, I will definitely be bookmarking this one for gift giving next year! Too cute! I only wish I'd seen it earlier for use this year! Chelsea, I am definitely going to be exploring your page in more detail now that I read this wonderful post! Happy Holidays to you and yours and thanks so much for sharing such an awesome idea! xoxo

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  41. What a truly amazing idea. And, they turned out so adorable. I can't wait to try this one day. Thanks for sharing.

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  42. What a great idea. I have to try this next year!
    Thanks

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  43. What a great gift idea! I never knew it was so easy to make homemade Vanilla Extract. I'll definitely be making some soon. Thanks for the great post! Cheers!

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  44. Gorgeous presentation and a relatively simple recipe. I love it and cannot wait to try it!

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  45. I tried it! Can't wait until mid February to put it to use! Gave a bottle to my mother and mother-in-law, they thought it was the greatest. Thank you for the inspiration and for helping me so easily impress the moms. Will be creating a short post with my finished product and referring to your site! Thanks! ;)

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  46. I love this idea!!!!!

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  47. And one more comment:
    You are incredible!!! I can't wait to make this for next Christmas. I just put your link on my blog, healthyglad.blogspot.com. I've got my eye on your, girl. I want to make some of your wonderful recipes. =:o)
    Thanks, Chelsea!

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  48. I was so excited to make this for friends. What a fun project. Thanks for making it so easy. Loved all the links, (labels, bottles). My friends were so impressed! Thanks again for sharing.

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  49. I love this idea especially cause it is so expensive to buy and everyone loves a good vanilla extract!

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  50. I love this idea of making your own delicious extract at home, but I'm only 16 and I was wondering is the unflavoured vodka still alcohol? Is it even legal tobe giving this to anyone under 21? Cute idea though!:)

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