Monday, February 17, 2014

The Impatient Vanilla Extract Maker

Today was another good day to experiment.  Let me back up a bit.  October 2012 I delved into making Pure vanilla extract.  First there was the decade or two old bottle of bourbon my awesome Uncle Bob gave me to experiment with.  (Because of who he is, not because of the bourbon!)  Second I purchased a couple middle priced vodkas to use for a taste comparison. Third was the hunt for bottles.  The ones you see above are 8.5 oz.  There is something to be said for just taking 4-8 ounces out of a liter of vodka and dropping in a bunch of vanilla beans, but I like the convenience of the smaller size bottles.  In my research most people slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and put  3-5 beans in an 8 ounce bottle, shake it up and place in a cool, dry, dark place for 2-6 months, shaking up every week or two.  (I used five beans.)  After 6 months it was not strong enough for my taste, and after 12 months it was better, but I was hoping for a more pronounced vanilla flavor still.  Hence the two bottles above.  In the interest of getting as much vanilla flavor as possible, I individualy blended the contents of several bottles in the Vitamix blender until very smooth.  It isn't as pretty as the bottle with whole beans in it, but how it tastes is what really matters.  I'll let you know in a couple months.  Thus far on the different liquids for the extract: using either vodka would be my choice next time.  The other extract comes out as more of a vanilla flavored bourbon than vanilla extract.  (Just for the record, I have several of my baking friends do the taste testing for me.)
Made two different gluten free peanut butter cookie recipes this week.  Still waiting for all the reviews from the testers.  Will keep you posted on the results soon, along with the improved kashi breakfast bake.
Happy cooking!