DIY Vanilla Extract
Baking fans will love this simple, two-set recipe to make homemade vanilla extract. All you need is a glass (8 fluid ounces) of bottom-shelf vodka and a half dozen (6) vanilla beans.
Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pods open by slicing down the spine starting just below the tip of one end all the way to its opposite. The pods should be split open but remain intact (i.e. not halved completely). Pour the vodka into a resealable bottle– preferably a thick-walled plastic bottle or you can rinse out an empty glass olive oil bottle– then submerge the pods in the vodka.
Seal the bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, agitating the mixture every 2 weeks to prevent the vanilla beans and alcohol from separating. The extraction process of the vanilla will take approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on how strong you want the vanilla flavor to be.
After the process is complete, strain the partially dissolved pods from the liquid using a sieve (strainer) or cheesecloth and return the extract to the resealable bottle. The 8 fluid ounces of vanilla extract the recipe yields is enough to satiate even the most diehard vanilla connoisseurs for well over a year, at one-tenth the cost of over-the-counter competitors.