Homemade Holiday Vanilla Flavoring

Dec 11 2013

by Marianne Brown

Homemade Vanilla Flavoring

Ahhh, the smell of vanilla flavoring. Growing up, good vanilla flavoring was added to all of our family’s favorite desserts: Mama’s tea cookies, Mary’s pound cake, Dostie’s pecan cookies, a little dash in the whipping cream….. To taste a desert without vanilla flavoring, we would all demand “Who forgot the vanilla!!” I can remember watching and waiting to add a tablespoon or two, just wanting to smell the open bottle. As Dostie says “It makes everything good.”

Some while ago, my mother gave me a cut out from a magazine that she had saved of Homemade Vanilla Flavoring. I have been wanting to try it ever since. So, I infused vodka and bourbon with vanilla. The vodka option is obviously a bit milder and less potent, but the bourbon one is really my favorite. It adds a little kick to some of my favorites, like pecan pie and those little pecan cookies we all love. It was strange to me that I had never bought vanilla flavoring with the actual vanilla bean still in place. I love seeing the little bean in the bottle. In the mist of the holiday season, these little bottles are perfect for thoughtful gift giving, as well as the prefect addition to your families favorite sweets. If you are really lucky, you may get your hands on either a bottle of Spring 44 Vodka and/or a bottle of Fireside Bourbon, and the fun continues! Both are locally made here in Colorado, and not to mention their labels, a snowflake and a campfire, what could possibly be more festive! I hope you all delight in making this simple treat and enjoy.


Homemade Vanilla Flavoring

Prep time: 5min./ Cook time: 5 min./ Makes 3 cups.

First, you simply cut open and scrape the insides of your vanilla beans. I found it easiest to cut them open with a knife and then scrape down the open bean with a fork. Then, you heat your liquor on medium/low heat for no more than 5 min. BE CAREFUL! Alcohol can ignite! You don’t need it boiling, just heated. This will speed up the infusion process.

For the last step, you simply place your vanilla bean and scraped seeds into your jar and then pour in the liquor. I used small swing top bottles that I already had, and the little spice bottles that the vanilla beans came in. Small mason jars would be great too, just keep to the vanilla bean to liquor ratio 1bean:1cup. It is best to let it infuse for about a week, and then it is good for up to 1 year. Also, once you feel the seeds have infused the liquor with all their goodness, you may strain the vanilla flavoring before using.

Now, get to baking!



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