November 16, 2014

DIY Foodie Gifting

This gift takes about 6 weeks to fully develop and I'm writing this just under the 6 week mark to Christmas. My apologies, but last year I made this gift just a few weeks before Christmas and it turned out just fine. Just give directions to your friends and you're in the clear for my lateness in the scheduling of this post.

Now you wonder, what takes six week to make and is it worth it? Well for your foodie friends, yes! It's homemade vanilla extract. And since all my sisters are avid home bakers, last Christmas I knew it was the perfect little gift for them.

It's a pretty low key project. All you need is some booze, vanilla beans, cute bottles and a knife. But it takes six weeks to develop the full flavor. Once you've bottled the beans and booze, you need to shake the bottle once a week and store in a dark, dry and cool place (that's all you need to tell your friends when you give them the vanilla extract).

****A side note: Twin Sista tried to use this vanilla in a chocolate ganache and it kept seizing up on her, so I would refrain from using it in that situation. But it works great in fully baked goods or non-ganache type recipes. For you science-y friends, I suppose it has to do with the high alcohol content?****
my half-used bottle of delicious vanilla extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • order cute bottles from Amazon (2-8oz) and be sure to wash them with warm water and soap and dry them before using. 
  • purchase vanilla beans (2-4 per bottle). Trader Joe's also sells them pretty affordably. 
  • choose your booze: bourbon or vodka
  • use this step-by-step guide from Chocolate and Carrots
  • add cute labels and make sure to store in a dry, dark, cool place and shake the bottle once a week for at least 6 weeks.
  • enjoy! 
  • (if you order the 6 bottle bundle linked above with the 25 pack of vanilla beans also linked above, then you'll have enough ingredients to make six bottles, if you want to keep the number low, which I did. but there are larger bundles of bottles available too).

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