If you’ve ever bought vanilla beans at the grocery store you know that you’ll pay at least $12 for a little test tube of two vanilla beans. I find this pretty outrageous and $12 is pretty much the minimum I’ve seen them for! In reading a few cupcake/baking blogs recently, I discovered that you can easily make your own vanilla extract. I was super excited because those little bottles are pretty expensive as well. Man, you’d think vanilla was gold or something.
Anyway, my problem with making the vanilla extract was that those beans are so expensive and you need six beans for this! Now I’m not the person who got a perfect score on the math section of the SATs but I’m pretty sure that’s about $36 just for the beans! So not worth it. Or is it? Along with discovering I could make my own vanilla extract, I also discovered that I could order vanilla beans in bulk on Amazon!!
I spent a long time on Amazon trying to decide which beans to go with until I ultimately decided on these from JR Mushroom and Specialities. I mainly went with these ones because 1/4 pound of beans would give me enough to make some extract and have plenty left over to use for vanilla bean cupcakes, frostings, etc. I couldn’t believe that I ordered them on Friday and they were on my front door the next day with free shipping! Now, I’m sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that I live in Boston and this company is located right neat by in Charlestown, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s good service too. When I took the padded envelope out of my mail box, I could smell the delicious vanilla smell through the packaging and couldn’t wait to start making my extract.
Making your own extract is so super easy, you’re not going to believe it. Basically all you really need is some vodka, a bunch of vanilla beans, a jar, and some time. I just the recipe I found here and doubled it. Pretty much every recipe that I found online was the same, although some call for cutting the beans and others don’t. I went with a recipe that kept the beans whole just because I figured it would be one less step for me.
So, in two months time I will have my very own delicious vanilla extract to bake with. And when I’m done with the beans I’m going to put them into a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar! It really doesn’t get better than that.