1. I go through a lot of vanilla extract.
2. Storebought vanilla extract is expensive.
1+2 is not a combination I like. Vanilla extract is not only unbelievably easy to make, but a lot cheaper than storebought vanilla. Basically, you put a couple of vanilla beans in some vodka, and keep topping it off with more vodka as you use it, and you can use the same beans for a year. That is SERIOUS bang for your buck right there. I always buy these vanilla beans from Amazon, because they are very reasonable at less than $1/piece, ship for free, and are unbelievably fragrant. Here’s how to make some:
Take 3 vanilla beans, and split them with a paring knife, stopping about an inch from each edge (so they still stay together):
Place them in a clean jar or bottle, and pour 1 cup of vodka or other desired liqueur into the jar. Use an alcohol that is at least 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).
Let the vanilla extract sit for 6-8 weeks, giving it a shake every week or so, and watch as it darkens over time. That’s the tough part, waiting. But once it’s matured, all you have to do is keep topping it off with more alcohol when it needs it, and you can keep doing that for a year.
Procedure from one of the blogs I read, Joy the Baker.