Last July I saw a post on Sally’s Baking Addiction about making homemade vanilla extract. I follow Sally’s blog religiously and am obsessed with her Sally’s Cookie Addiction Cookbook, so when she said homemade vanilla can take cookies to the next level I wanted to give it a try.
Since the homemade vanilla is best when made six months in advance, and Christmas is the heart of baking season, I decided to whip up a whole batch to give as holiday gifts to friends, coworkers and neighbors.
I will refer you to Sally’s blog for a full tutorial (Homemade Vanilla Extract), but it’s as easy as can be. I bought all the supplies on Amazon (except the vodka) and then simply sliced the vanilla beans, put them in the jars using a funnel, added vodka and capped them tight.
Pro Tip: Keep the box the bottles come in to store the vanilla in the top of your pantry until it’s ready to gift!
Overall, this is not an inexpensive project. The supplies to make a dozen bottles (without packaging) comes out to $70. But when you do the math, that is only $5.83/4 oz. bottle. When you compare that to the cost of 4 oz. of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract at HEB, which is $14.91, it’s a steal!
The best part of this gift is that it truly keeps on giving. If you use a teaspoon, you can simply replace it with more vodka, and it’ll be just as good.
According to Sally, “Unused aged vanilla extract (with the beans fully submerged) will last several years. If it still smells good, it’s still good to use!”
When I passed these out as gifts over the holidays my friends and neighbors were so impressed, and several told me later how much the vanilla improved their baked goods.
If you like baking or have friends or family who do, definitely consider trying out this project!
Note: I did a lot of research on vanilla beans, weighing cost, reading reviews and other blogs on this topic and ended up going with the ones linked below, which Sally also recommends. I have been very pleased with the results!
- 4oz Glass Bottles with Cap – (12 pack) 4 oz. Amber Boston Round with Black Poly Cap
- 20 Vanilla Beans – 10 Vanilla Beans – Whole Extract Grade B Pods for Baking, Homemade Extract, Brewing, Coffee, Cooking – (Tahitian)
- Vodka – Smirnoff 1.75 L Vodka (The cheaper the better is what Sally says as far as Vodka goes!)
- Funnel – AxeSickle Silicone Collapsible Funnel 2 Pcs Folding Funnel
- Labels – Avery 2.5″ Round Labels
- Label Designs – I used these from Natasha’s Kitchen, but here are some others I loved on Etsy: Printable Vanilla Label.
- Baker’s Twine – Regency Wraps Regency Baker’s Twine Cone Red and White
- Black & White Kitchen Towels – I bought mine in the holidays section at Hobby Lobby during the fall, but these on Amazon are similar: Plaid Woven Kitchen Towels, Set of 6
- Christmas Cookie Cutters – Wilton Holiday Shapes Metal Christmas Cookie Cutter Set, 18-Piece