DIY Vanilla Extract

DIY Vanilla Extract
makes 8 ounces

Any baker worth her bundt pan knows that high quality vanilla extract is the key to robust flavorful desserts, particularly chocolate ones.  I created this batch of vanilla extract with vanilla beans that I bought in India and then promptly forgot about and leftover local vodka that was just hanging out in my liquor cabinet.  You can use any high proof alcohol to create vanilla extract--including rum, bourbon or even brandy--but I prefer the vodka, possibly because it's just what I'm used to.  If you are making these as holiday gifts, let your giftees know they take 6-8 weeks to mature.

2-3 whole vanilla beans
8 ounces of vodka

1. Slice beans vertically to expose the inner seeds.

2. Place vanilla beans in an an 8-ounce mason jar and cover to the top with vodka.  Seal tightly.  Keep in a dark, cool place and shake the jar every couple of days.  The extract will slowly darken and flavor will develop, about 6-8 weeks and a minimum of 4.  You can use the extract straight out of the container or strain into smaller bottles.