Vanilla extract is so much easier than I ever expected – which is great because I so much prefer homemade to storebought!
5 – 6 vanilla beans, split in half long ways
1 – 2 cups vodka (alternative alcohols would be bourbon or brandy)
Place the split beans into a pint mason jar (or other decorative jar) and pour in vodka, being sure the beans are completely submerged. Put on a lid, and keep in a cool, dark place.
Shake every couple of days and after several weeks, vanilla should be ready for use.
Fresh vanilla beans are best, but this most recent batch, I realized my beans were older and starting to dry out. They still had a strong vanilla smell though, so I used them. I adjusted my recipe accordingly – a little more beans and a little less vodka (but still covering the beans).