Homemade vanilla extract is incredibly easy to make. It's also a great gift idea.
8 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka or bourbon
Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out the seeds and transfer to a small saucepan. Cut the empty bean pods into 1-inch pieces and add them to the saucepan.
Add the vodka or boron to the saucepan, cover and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is steaming, about 2 minutes. (Do not open the lid while the pot is over the flame)
Pour the mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature. Cover with the lid and store in a dark place for at least 8 weeks. The longer, the fuller the flavor. Shake the jar gently once a week.
When the extract is ready to use, line a fine-mesh strainer with 2 coffee filters to drain out vanilla pieces. Strain the vanilla through the filters, then pour vanilla extract into a bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
Store at room temperature.