Tuesday, April 17, 2012

homemade vanilla

 A year or so ago I caught an episode of The Barefoot Contessa where she talked about making homemade vanilla.  I don't remember her actually making it, more just quickly running through the how to's.  Seriously, you can barely call it a recipe, its that easy. 
 Here it is:

12-24 vanila beans
a jar

That's it.  And all you do is split the beans, scrape the seeds, throw 'em in the jar, put the empty beans in the jar, cover it all with vodka, and shake.  Ms. Garten says it'll be ready in six months.  But I choose to believe this recipe, over at Zoe Bakes, that says five weeks.

I've been wanting to make it ever since I saw that BC episode, but I knew I'd have to take out a loan to get enough beans.  I finally caved when I needed another excuse to buy more Weck jars.  Which brings me to my new obsession.  Is it weird that I am obsessed with these jars?  Ok, maybe a little, but there are worse things.  Anyway, I wanted to get these mini carafes and knew they would be perfect for the vanilla.  And since Easter was just a few days away these were a perfect addition to my mom and mother-in-law's Easter baskets!
Since we have a minimum five week wait to test the extract I needed some instant gratification so I threw together a little homemade vanilla simple syrup.  I just tossed a few of the empty pods into a pan with equal parts water and sugar, brought it to a boil, just til the sugar dissolved.  We used it in lemonade, coke, and when it got a little low we added it to our creamer - instant flavored creamer with out all of the nasty hydrogenated this 'n that!  So that's what, three? fun things to do with vanilla beans?  And in a month or so I'll let you know what I'm doing with the extract itself!