I don't like to buy the 'Imitation Vanilla Flavoring' but I get grumpy at the expensive prices for the good stuff.
I used to have a nice big bottle of Mexican vanilla. However, I ran out of it about 1 year after my last trip to Mexico. Which also happens to be my only trip to Mexico. Which happens to have taken place, oh, 11 years ago.
Here is the ingredients list:
Vodka (the cheap stuff is fine)
Jar with a seal-able lid
I was able to buy my beans at our local natural food grocery store. They were not very expensive. About $1.50 a piece.
I got Madagascar vanilla beans.
Mmmmm, smells so good!
Basically, the recipe for vanilla is a 1 to 1 ratio
1 vanilla bean for every 1 cup of vodka
It is really important to remember to take your vanilla bean and cut it down the middle 1/4 inch from the top until 1/4 inch from the bottom. You want the inner parts of the bean to be able to get out into the vodka and steep.
Be certain to cover your bean with vodka. You can always fold it in half if you need to. Then you need to put your special brew away in a dark place for about 2 months. I put mine in the pantry. Every few days, give it a good shake to mix up all that beaniness. It will take on a beautiful caramel color as it gets closer to being done. The longer you let it sit, the stronger it will be.
I made mine in a big batch and split it up into these smaller bottles to give away as gifts.
Here is the really cool thing about home made vanilla. As you use it up, you can just continue to replace the vodka in the bottle. You have a never ending supply of vanilla!
The only drawback to this idea?
You have to plan ahead if you want to make it as a gift to give away during the holidays.
So put this idea in your back pocket for next year.
It is a gift worth giving.