One of my goals for 2012 is to make and use ingredients from scratch. First up: vanilla extract! This was my first time making my own vanilla extract, and I couldn't believe how easy it was! I gave away my first batch as gifts at Christmastime, but I just ordered more bottles to make some for myself.
DIY Vanilla Extract
3 whole vanilla beans per 8 oz of alcohol
clean glass bottles or jars
high-proof alcohol like vodka, bourbon or rum (I used vodka)
Split three vanilla beans lengthwise and place in a clean glass bottle or jar. Pour 8 ounces of alcohol over the beans. Seal the bottle tightly. Store in a dark, cool place for two months. Shake the bottle occasionally. After two months, your vanilla is ready!