Last year I ordered 1 pound of Tahitian Gourmet Vanilla Beans from Vanilla Saffron Imports after I went into a crazy everything-vanilla phase.
1. Sounded exotic and ‘gourmet’
2. I’d heard of it before
It was like Christmas when my parcel arrived! I was so excited thatI started ripping into my package on my walk back to the house from the mailbox. I ended up with around 120 vanilla beans for about $30.00 USD + shipping. I knew I wanted to make my own vanilla extract and began the process immediately beyond that I didn’t have any other plans.
According to my Aunt, you literally just throw some beans in bottle of alcohol and let it sit. So that’s what I did! I used a bottle of rum the first time I made vanilla. As you can see, I still have it in the very classy bottle.
The second time I used vodka to see if there would be a difference. I found that the vodka seemed to “steep” faster, but the taste is fairly similar.
What I love most about the vanilla is that I can just continually add more vanilla beans into the bottles to keep the vanilla making process going. The booze plumps up the beans pleasantly making them easy to cut open and able to squeeze the precious flavour out.
Since I had so many vanilla beans I also made vanilla sugar by storing them in plain white sugar. The vanilla beans lightly infused a beautiful vanilla flavour. I’ve used the sugar in sugar cookies and other butter cookies and they always turn out excellent!
I’ve still got some permeating my sugar. What else could I do with them?