Making your own vanilla is easy and fun. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can experiment with your own flavor combinations for baking, or you may even want to make several batches to give to other baking or food enthusiasts.
Homemade vanilla isn't hard to make, but it does require a little planning. In other words, don't expect that you can make a batch one day and have it ready the next. Rather, the vanilla will have to sit for about four weeks before being ready. So keep that in mind before you begin.
To make your own vanilla you will need whole vanilla beans and a little bit of alcohol. Vodka is what many people use because of its neutral flavor. However, rum is an excellent choice as well, because it's natural flavor marries itself so well with vanilla.
Recipe For Making Your Own Vanilla
Take four whole vanilla beans and split them in half lengthwise. The seeds will be exposed. Place the beans and 1 cup of the liquor into a small saucepan and heat over low until the mixture reaches about 180 degrees in temperature. Keep in mind that this is considerably lower than boiling.
Once the mixture has reached temperature, pour the homemade vanilla extract into a sterilized glass jar, cover with a lid, and allow the mixture to cool. Then, store in a cool, dark place, like the back of a kitchen cabinet, for about four weeks to let the extract deepen. You will notice the color getting deeper as time goes on.