Serves: Makes 3 (7- to 8-ounce) bottles of vanilla extract
- 9 whole vanilla beans
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 1 (750-milliliter) bottle premium vodka
Procedures:"Anyone who loves to bake will treasure this present, and you don’t even have to bake to make these gifts! There’s nothing to it: Select attractive glass bottles; buy plump vanilla beans, rum, and vodka; slit the beans and fit them into the bottles; pour the liquor over the top; and seal. Either make the vanilla and store it for months or give it freshly made and let the recipient watch it turn from light amber to a deep, luscious brown. It’s an especially treasured gift because it keeps on giving—just replenish the amount in the bottle by adding vodka to re-cover the beans.
- Wash the bottles, including the lids, in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Alternatively, run the bottles through the regular cycle of your dishwasher; wash the lids by hand.
- Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slit the vanilla beans lengthwise to expose the seeds, without cutting the bean in half. Fit 3 vanilla beans into each bottle.
- Using a narrow-neck funnel, pour 1 teaspoon of rum into each bottle. Add enough vodka to cover the beans completely, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims, secure the lids, and label.
Storing: Store the bottles in a cool, dark place, gently shaking the bottles once a week. The vanilla is ready to use 7 months from the date it was made.