A little over a year ago, janjanmom introduced me to the joys of homemade vanilla. It was a Christmas Christmas gift that she made with her own two hands. It was divine, and I rationed it out over the course of several months, using it only for special cooking projects, and supplementing with Watkins vanilla for the run of the mill stuff. I finally used it all up and was sad, sad, sad. So, around January I decided to make some more.
All you do is split open some fresh vanilla beans, stuff them into a jar, cover them with vodka and let them steep in the dark for a few weeks until the liquid turns a nice mellow amber. Which I did. Only I used this instead of regular vodka:
Cake vodka. For the past three months that vanilla jar has been sitting in the cabinet doing its magic, and I have resisted the urge to open it except for a nice big whiff every now and then as I checked on its progress. Every time I thought it was done, I held off and let it sit a little longer. It has turned a dark golden color, and after three months, I have decided it is done.
Ooh, it is good. Real good. Good thing I made a big batch. Yes, I have a second jar brewing. I used some of the homemade vanilla in a recipe over the weekend, and declared it the nectar of the gods. As it's used you can top it off with a little more vodka, let it soak a little longer and get more use out of the beans. Hence the two jars. I can use one while the other is brewing again. The Hula-gen's may never buy store bought vanilla again. And bonus! Cake vodka has many uses.