Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have a confession to make!! When I first started baking and the recipe would ask for vanilla extract, I would reach out to this tiny bottle labelled 'Vanilla Essence' that was available in most Indian stores. It is only once I started blogging and reading and sharing that I realised that I was doing it all wrong. Turns out that tiny bottle was all fraud! I read closely, and horror of horrors, the label had not a mention of the word "vanilla" in the ingredients list. Instead, I read the word "artificial" and even worse, "caramel flavouring"!!
 

  
Well, you learn! While vanilla extract is still not easily available in the Indian market, the even better option is to make the stuff at home. All you need is a clean glass bottle (in my case, an old soya sauce bottle that I sterilised), some vanilla pods and vodka. The only hitch, you have to wait for eight weeks before it is ready for use. Else, you will land up with vanilla-flavoured vodka!! (Label credit, here)
 
This takes barely about two minutes to put together and you will see the difference for yourself! 


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Homemade Vanilla Extract

 
Ingredients:
  • 1 sterilised glass bottle
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 3 vanilla beans*
** Use 1/3 cup vodka for every vanilla bean
 
Directions:
  • Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans lengthwise in half and place in a glass bottle.
  • Pour vodka into the bottle to completely cover the beans, put on the cap tightly and store in a cool, dark spot for at least 10 weeks before using, shaking the bottle once a week. (I kept mine for 12 weeks).
  • Once, 30 per cent of the vanilla extract has been used, you can top it up with more vodka. To make the vanilla flavour stronger, you can feed it with leftover vanilla beans that have not been steeped in milk, cream etc.

18 comments:

  1. Oh I make my vanilla extract at home all the time. That nonsense Bush Vanilla that we get in India is such a travesty! And these days it doesnt even smell as nice as it used to in the good old days. So I have been making my own vanilla for over a year now. I dont know about the economics of it (because I buy those tiny Absolut vodka bottles -- theyre so purrdy!)..but it definitely results in a flavour thats hard to give up on and go back to that Bush nonsense!

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    1. Revati.. My confession is even more embarrassing... I used the Viola vanilla essence!! Hahaha...like I said one learns!!

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  2. that so cool! never realized it was that easy! :)

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    1. I know.. isn't it?! Makes you wonder why ever bought the stuff! :)

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  3. I'm making a batch of these for Christmas this year!

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    1. Agree, these would make great Christmas gifts.. especially for people who enjoy baking!!

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  4. Great post Sarvani!! Just the other day I was thinking that I have to make my own vanilla extract before I start blogging again!! I will use your recipe!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Maria!!! Long time!! Can't wait for you to start blogging again...:)

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  5. May I ask, where did you get those lovely labels from?

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    1. Hi Sheetal.. Thanks for pointing out that I forgot to put the credits for these labels.. For these ones... I googled around and found these at http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/how-to-make-vanilla-extract.html

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  6. These little homemade vanilla extracts would make such lovely gifts! Can't wait to see how you use your homemade vanilla extract ;-)

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    1. They would!! Infact I want to gift these to a few of my friends who enjoy baking!!

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  7. I make a lot of homemade liqueurs, and this is one I have yet to tackle. I never seem to have enough vanilla beans! I can only imagine the difference.

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    1. The difference is huge!!! Its so interesting that you make homemade liqueuers.. I've only tried my hand at making a coffee liqueur.. wasn't too tough.. and so cheap!! :)

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  8. i did the same mistake before too - we all have been there :) this is such a pretty gift idea too.

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    1. Haha.. we all learn, don't we?!! I know.. I have decided to give this as a gift to all my friends who like to bake!! Drop by again!

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  9. Hi! Any substitute for vodka as I can't use alcohol. Your reply would be appreciated. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I have been asked this question before.. unfortunately I don't know of any substitute. Sorry I cant be of any help. I have heard about using food grade vegetable glycerine but I would know where to find that!! Why not google around.. its where I usually get all my answers from!!

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