It's been a week of simple yet profound discoveries.
Today I started some homemade vanilla extract. I bake a lot, so I end up using a ton of this stuff and it's not cheap (around $5 for a 2oz bottle). The solution: make your own. And, like many things, it's so much simpler than I would have imagined.
Step 1: buy some whole vanilla beans in a jar (usually come 2 or 4 to a jar). This will run you about $12 but it's worth it in the long run.
Step 2: take the beans out and slice them lengthwise over a sheet of wax paper. Don't cut them in half, just slice them open to expose the vanilla bean goodness within.
Step 3: put the open beans back into the jar, chopping them so they fit. Make sure to scrape all the little seeds that might have fallen out onto the wax paper into the jar as well.
Step 4: fill the jar with vodka. Bottom shelf is fine here.
Step 5: let it sit in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, shaking it up every day or two.
The great part about this is that the longer it sits in there, the stronger the flavor will be. And as you use it up, just keep adding new vodka. Replace the vanilla beans every 6 months or so to keep it potent and fresh.
Mmm..homemade DIY cheap and good-for-you vanilla extract.